Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics players on Sunday teamed up to make sure the police was held accountable following the gruesome killing of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man shot and killed by Sacramento police officers.
A public service announcement featuring players from both teams aired during their Sunday matchup.
Kings players also wore custom warm-up shirts that called for unity and accountability on the front and had Clark’s name in the back.
The protest also commemorated the killing of numerous other African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement in recent years, according to Reuters.
Seventeen players from the two teams also appeared in a public service message that was played on the giant jumbotron TV screen, inside the Kings’ home arena at Golden 1 Center during a time-out in their matchup on Sunday.
The 30-second spot, which carried the slogan “Accountability. We Are One,” was greeted by cheers from among the thousands of fans attending the game, Kings spokesman Chris Clark said.
The same slogan appeared in white letters on the front of the black-T shirts players wore during their warm-up exercises, with the social media hashtag “#StephonClark” on the back.
The on-court display, came three days after a Black Lives Matter protest of the Clark killing disrupted the Kings’ previous home game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Clark was killed when two police officers investigating a report of vandalism, shot him 20 times in the backyard of his grandparents’ home in Sacramento on March 18.
Police video footage of the confrontation released three days later, showed Clark holding a cell phone that police said the officers had mistaken for a firearm.
Street protests on Thursday paralysed traffic in downtown Sacramento for hours before demonstrators converged on the Golden 1 Center, preventing many late-arriving Kings fans from entering the arena and delaying the start of the game.
In the public service spot played on Sunday, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox said, “These tragedies have to stop.”
He was followed by expressions of defiance from Kings’ guard Garrett Temple and Celtics forward Al Horford, who declared, respectively, “We will not stick to sports,” and “We will not shut up and dribble.”
Clark’s death sparked tension in the state capital on Friday night as protesters clashed with police in riot gear, capping a week of unrest during which protesters briefly shut down Interstate 5 and blocked access to a Sacramento Kings game.
Rev. Al Sharpton on Sunday said he was “alarmed” by the shooting. Police believed Clark was armed with a gun at the time, but only a cellphone was recovered at the scene.