Mitchell’s vest featured the names of police brutality victims.
“I have pretty much every possible name of everyone that’s died of police brutality and police violence,” Mitchell told Turner Sports. “There was a quote that said ‘am I next?’ on the back of somebody’s jersey. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how famous you are, as an African-American male that’s who we are.”
Mitchell explained what the vest meant to him.
“It doesn’t matter what your job is, what your name is. Being able to wear a bulletproof vest just shows we kind of have our hands up as well, just kinda like hands up, don’t shoot. We’re tired of seeing this. … We’re sick and tired of being afraid.”
Mitchell, his teammates and members of the New Orleans Pelicans knelt in unity during the national anthem on Thursday night. The players protested racial injustice and police brutality, breaking a long-standing NBA rule requiring players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared to support players’ peaceful protest. He made a statement after the Jazz and Pelicans’ protest before their game.
“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” Silver said, according to The New York Times.