Aussie NBA star Aron Baynes has penned a heartfelt letter to help educate fans about the importance of ‘pushing ignorance’ aside and actively helping in the battle against racism.
The world has watched on as cities across the US have seen mass protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, with several athletes and other sporting figures taking part.
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Athletes such as LeBron James and Tiger Woods have expressed their support for protests against racism and now the Phoenix Suns’ Baynes has penned a heartfelt message to NBA fans.
The letter is accompanied by a photo of him and his wife and he explains why, as a man that usually likes to remain private, he has chosen to voice his opinion.
“I’m usually a private person. Most people don’t know that my wife is black, and we have mixed race children,” he wrote.
“I am grateful for them as they have taught me as much about myself as I have taught them about the world.”
Baynes explains he grew up in Australia and was “ignorant and uneducated” about the impact racism can have on a community.
He detailed how when he was aged around 16 he came to understand racism came in all shapes and sizes and now as "a father and a man" will not stand for it.
“Don’t mistake me. I didn’t dislike any certain individual because of their race or culture. But I didn’t support them either, which was just as bad,” he wrote.
“I was a silent bystander. I did not have the knowledge or the will to stand up for those who were oppressed or marginalised.
“I do not understand firsthand how a lifetime or generations of being oppressed feels. What I do know is it breaks my heart that people would judge my children, or any other child based purely on the colour of their skin.
“I now understand some of the fear, the anger, the helplessness and the resilience that is the fight for equality.”
Importance of education: Baynes
Baynes went on to highlight the importance of education, at a young age, and how it can help eradicate racism before it rears its ugly head.
“Education starts at home and it can’t begin early enough. Our children must learn through words and action not to pass judgement on people based on their colour or background,” he wrote.
“Judge a man or woman on their character - integrity is afforded to all cultures but not everyone chooses to take it up.”
Baynes detailed how when he was aged around 16 he came to understand racism came in all shapes and sizes and now as "a father and a man" will not stand for it.