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Damian Lillard on Portland’s Trump protests: “Tearing apart your own city” doesn’t help

Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) poses for a photograph during NBA basketball media day in Portland, Ore., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)


From Los Angeles to New York and in blue states across the nation, there have been protests in the wake of Donald Trump winning the election and becoming president-elect. Cities with large minority communities, in particular, have seen frustration and large-scale protests (in New York the protest landed at the door of Trump Tower in Manhattan).

But the only real violence happened at protests in Portland. There, according to police, demonstrators used bats to smash store windows and cars, others lit fires, and on Saturday one protestor was shot (no arrest as of yet). Police have called the situation a “riot,” and over the past few days more than 45 people have been arrested.

Damian Lillard hopes the violence will stop, as he told Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that people have done some of the things they have done during the protest. A lot of harm and damage has been done,” Lillard told ESPN on Saturday. “I do understand their frustration, and I commend people wanting to come together for some kind of change. Tearing apart your own city just isn’t the place to begin, and also making your own city less of a safe place isn’t the answer....

“Portland has been a great place since I’ve been here and long before, but this type of activity doesn’t even seem to fit the description of Portland,” Lillard said. “Especially when the majority of the people here voted for Hillary. So if this is an anti-Trump rally, then you’re probably harming the people that you side with in most cases. So again I share the same worry, but I don’t think this is the solution.”

Well said.

There has been no shortage of frustration in the NBA family with the electionGregg Popovich may have summed it up best — but plans of action to combat his agenda policies (particularly within your state) will do far more than violence.

It has happened numerous times in the past on protests across the political spectrum, people intent on violence join the demonstrations to use it as cover and an excuse. There is undoubtedly genuine frustration and fear about what a Trump presidency could mean — both regarding policy and the kind of language and behavior that is somehow condoned by his election — but that turning to violence toward businesses and people in the community where the protestors live doesn’t do any good. Lillard is trying to reason with the people sparking violence; the question is will they listen?