Miami Heat and celebrities should not be sole gauge for moral compass

Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat looks on prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat looks on prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Arena (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

With the tragic loss of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the sports world has been quick to represent. However, some were not happy with the speed of the Miami Heat reaction.

As an organization, the Miami Heat are usually one of the first to speak up on social issues, so it was a little disheartening to some when there was a week of outward silence regarding the murder of George Floyd at the hands of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

A mix of relief and unrest seemed to come once Udonis Haslem appeared at a press conference to speak out–followed by an official Heat statement the next day.

However, in the days prior, all of the talk came from former Miami Heat players, the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Ray Allen. With the exception, at the time, being a statement from the aforementioned Haslem and others from current Miami center Meyers Leonard showing grief, shame, and condemnation for the treatment of black people in America.

But why was it not enough?

Because people expect the ones they look to, to jump to the forefront. In a way, onlookers probably anticipated a stance as strong as the 2011-12 Miami roster made after the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Instead, they received relative quietness. Which points to the problem with expectations.

Granted you cannot fully condemn everyone if you know not how they are working behind the scenes. However, this is why sports stars, musicians, organizations, and other celebrities should not be looked to as the sole gauge of right and wrong.

The Miami Heat didn’t speak up as fast as some would have liked, but is that there issue alone or more ours in taking issue with their actions or lack thereof?

Individuals have to know, for themselves, that changes need to be made and want to help make them.

Sure, stars have the ability to influence people on the fence to denounce things such as police brutality and racism, yet for some, their views only go so far.

Relying on athletes and entertainers to be the moral compass, leaves one handcuffed to the whims of the those who may not be equipped to handle the pressure, those who do not believe they are beholden to speak up, and those who fear being rendered jobless by the same society who chose to villainize Colin Kaepernick’s most peaceful of protests.

For the most part, these types of restraints have not been faced in the modern-day NBA. That is unless organizations make a sudden lane change similar to that of the owner of the Miami Heat’s eternal enemy, New York Knicks:

"“As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, however, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters.” (New York Knicks owner James Dolan,"

In all honesty, James Dolan was not completely wrong. They are not more qualified to speak on societal issues than others, but that does not mean they should also downplay them. A realization not lost on the Knicks owner as he attempted to backtrack on his previous statement after 24 hours of backlash.

Next. Miami Heat: Pat Riley most often always… gets his guy. dark

Unfortunately, blatantly forced support has just as much value as no support. So, whether it is the Knicks, the Miami Heat, James, or Wade, fans need to look within when deciding to band together and help a cause.

They could do that in the same way that they do in support of their favorite teams, regardless of who slides on the laundry we call uniforms.