“I have prided myself in being able to be objective and cover these sorts of issues,” said ESPN reporter Malika Andrews on Wednesday, tearing up as she spoke. “But when it is so clear that the system of objectivity in journalism is so whitewashed and doesn’t account for the fact that…Breonna Taylor was 26 and I am 25, and that could have been me, it is very hard to continue to go to work.”
On March 13, Louisville police broke down 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s door and killed her, shooting the unarmed medical worker at least eight times in her home. Yet despite widespread protests and calls for justice, a grand jury decided on Wednesday that none of the police officers involved would be charged with killing Taylor.
Instead, a single officer, Brett Hankison, has been charged with “wanton endangerment,” a charge not even directly related to Taylor’s death. Rather, it is for allegedly displaying an “extreme indifference to the value of human life” — by firing his gun into a neighbour’s apartment.
In a clip that has since gone viral, Andrews reported for ESPN on Wednesday on the impact of this result on NBA players, with many having been visibly supportive of the protests, calling for justice following Taylor’s killing, and even later staging walkouts against police violence.
“It reverberated everywhere,” said Andrews. “Players were hurting. That’s not to say that they didn’t expect this… [Boston Celtics’ player Jaylen Brown said] what do you expect about a system that is rigged against, that was founded on an unfairness against people who look like him, and people who look like me?”
Andrews became audibly upset as she spoke about the disappointment and devastating lack of surprise amongst NBA players, sharing the personal, emotional toll the decision had on her as a young Black woman.
“I’m sorry that I’m getting choked up here, because this is about the players and their response, but it’s been hard for them,” she said. “This is something that… they fought for the entire time they’ve been down here and they were hoping for a different outcome.”
Brown: “Until we dismantle, recreate or change this system that we have, it will continue to have victims like Breonna Taylor and others that fall victim to oppression.” https://t.co/OuBna3OBJl
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 24, 2020
Displaying remarkable strength and composure after her emotional speech, Andrews quickly shifted back to how the decision in Taylor’s case impacted the NBA’s players. This was an impressive feat, but she should never have needed to be so strong in the first place.