Barclays Center
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The owner of the Brooklyn Nets has spoken out in support of the ongoing demonstrations for racial justice at the Barclays Center.

Joseph Tsai is set to oversee plenty of monumental events at the Barclays Center over the coming years. None may be more impactful than the current events engaging while the arena’s doors remain closed.

In an interview with Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, Tsai, the owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and WNBA’s New York Liberty, expressed his support for the ongoing nationwide protests and demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality toward African-Americans. Such displays in Brooklyn have congregated at Barclays, the 17,000-seat arena on Atlantic Avenue.

Joe Tsai, co-founder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group and the new owner of the New York Liberty, speaks to reporters during a news conference before a WNBA exhibition basketball game between the New York Liberty and China, Thursday, May 9, 2019 in New York. Tsai saw the team's exhibition game against the Chinese national team Thursday night as a chance to grow relations between the two countries.
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Speaking with Winfield, Tsai was proud that the Brooklyn landmark has become a hub of activity against injustice. So long as the demonstrations remain peaceful, Tsai hopes they continue.

“We have said that we will use the voice and platform of the Nets, Liberty and Barclays Center to facilitate empathy and dialogue,” Tsai said. “In Brooklyn, the Plaza at Flatbush and Atlantic has become a place for people to assemble and have their voice heard. If it continues to serve as a place where everyone from our community, from residents to businesses to police alike, gather peacefully to listen to each other and find common ground, then it’s good with me.”

“Those of us who cannot possibly experience the personal pain and indignity of racism towards black people feel a sense of helplessness as frustration and anxiety reach a boiling point. But it does not mean that we sit idle.”

These nationwide demonstrations have been prevalent since African-American citizen George Floyd was killed after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. The problem has been far from isolated though. Demonstrators have also called for justice in the cases of other black victims of police brutality and racism, including Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Tsai and Brooklyn’s sports leaders previously released an open letter condemning these crimes and vowing action in a promise to the community. The letter was released in a collaborative effort between the Nets, Liberty, Barclays Center, along with the Nets’ G League affiliate on Long Island. It was signed by front office representatives from each group.

On-court participants of Tsai’s squads have likewise been active in the ongoing fight. Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and Liberty center Amanda Zahui B. have each partaken in demonstrations (Zahui B. doing so overseas in her native Sweden) and have been active on social media in regards to the current events.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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