Wednesday was a dark day in United States history as a mob of pro-Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempted coup as the electoral college votes were being counted.
While the insurrection was shocking to many, Kings forward Harrison Barnes wasn't surprised that it came to this after four years of Trump's presidency.
"Obviously, when you look at what happened today in D.C., it's shocking, but not surprising," Barnes said after the Kings' win over the Chicago Bulls. "I mean, words and actions matter. This is a culmination of four years of lies and conspiracies and no moral center. So, as players, it's important for us to speak out about that, to show unity, to know that this game gives us the ability to bring communities together. And right now, our country is very divided and we have a lot of work to do."
The counting of the electoral college is a sacred ritual in America, signaling the peaceful transition of power that has long been the standard to democracies around the globe.
During a rally early Wednesday morning, President Trump told his supporters to never accept defeat and to march to the Capitol in order to give Republican members of Congress the necessary push to overturn the election of Joe Biden.
The violent mob easily pushed past Capitol police and overtook the building, delaying the counting of the vote for several hours. Once the Capitol was cleared, both chambers of Congress reconvened and counted the votes that will make Biden the 46th President of the United States.
NBA players from across the league responded to the events with shock as the pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol, waving around Confederate and Nazi flags. The stark contrast between how police treated this seditious mob and Black Americans who protested against racial injustices over the summer was clear.
“Could you imagine?” Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers asked. “That, to me, is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see. It’s something for us to reckon with, again. No police dogs turned on people. No billy clubs hitting people. People peacefully being escorted out of the Capitol.”
Warriors forward Draymond Green was rightfully furious.
“It’s shameful to keep calling them protesters," Green said. "They’re not f-----g protesters. They’re f-----g terrorists.”
NBA teams from across the league made statements. The Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers kneeled during the national anthem, as did the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. The Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons tipped off, knocked the ball out of bounds and took a knee.
As of Thursday morning, 52 people had been arrested according to D.C. police, but 47 were due to curfew violations.
“There are two Americas," Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. "In one you get killed for sleeping in your car. … In another America you can storm the Capitol. No tear gas, no massive arrests. None of that. It’s 2021. I don’t think anything has changed."