J.J. Redick Q&A: Pelicans guard on being an ally in NBA players’ efforts to address systemic racism

Instead of speaking out on systemic racism, New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick often figured it would be best just to shut up and listen.

Redick has not shied away from the NBA and its players' efforts to address racial inequality with words and initiatives. He has supported it. As a white player that has had different life experiences, though, Redick has remained aware of when it is best to be a supportive teammate and when to stay on the sideline.

Redick talked about that issue with USA TODAY Sports in part two of a Q&A that also delved into how the NBA has used its platform to spark change and where things go from here. In part one, Redick talked about Acker Wines' virtual tasting series, "All-Stars Uncorked," which will begin Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET through Zoom as well as the perks and challenges of being in the NBA bubble. The Q&A below has been edited for length and clarity.

We’re keeping basketball season going! Join us Tuesday, September 22 as we kick off our All-Stars Uncorked Virtual Tasting series with NBA player @JJRedick! Sign up here: https://t.co/yhOlGPzkJS#ackeruncorkedpic.twitter.com/iUIcZJVB7s

How did you weigh whether it was the right thing to do for the NBA to have a season?

Redick: "I think it was the right thing to do, and still think it is the right thing to do. But it was good to have that reset so people could express emotions and be able to have conversations with the league, have conversations amongst ourselves and have conversations with the owners. That was important. I do think not enough is being made about the actions that players have taken to help combat some of these issues and to help create change. You look at the "More Than a Vote" initiative that LeBron James is doing and what he’s been able to accomplish in just two months in terms of creating multiple polling stations.

Q&A PART ONE: Redick on virtual wine tasting and life in the NBA bubble

"Malcolm Brogdon launched a fund while in the bubble. Chris Paul, D-Wade and Melo launched a Social Change Fund in the bubble. The league announced it would be providing $300 million into a fund for the next 30 years to invest in Black communities. There are a lot of things happening. I made a big deal about this on my podcast when I talked to Mark Cuban about Jared Kushner coming out and saying something about LeBron and how he wished these players would focus more on actually solving the solution than complaining. I’m paraphrasing. But the reality is we’re doing things to help solve these problems. Our elected officials are not doing enough. The impetus and onus is on active athletes to help create change. It’s nonsensical. I said this on the podcast: I’m so proud of our league, my peers and what we’re doing and what we stand for.

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