Minnesota Timberwolves: The franchise’s response to tragedy in Minneapolis

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Head coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Head coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

As an organization, the Minnesota Timberwolves are responding in multiple ways to a tragedy in their home community of Minneapolis.

In the wake of the George Floyd tragedy in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Timberwolves are doing what they can to respond, both for the community at large and for the players and employees within the organization.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski published a piece on that focused on the Wolves’ response, which is being driven largely by Wolves head coach Ryan Saunders and president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.

As noted by Woj, Saunders was born and raised in the Twin Cities and has the unique opportunity to be both affected by the tragedy as a Minnesotan and the leader of a team with a primarily African-American roster.

"“I am a white male in a position of leadership, and I don’t take lightly the fact that I have not experienced some of these things that our individual guys have had to experience,” Saunders told ESPN. “So I wanted to make sure we were listeners, that we could become more educated as people completely inexperienced in never getting the benefit of the doubt. I grew up in Minnesota, and this hasn’t been sitting well with me for the past two days. Sometimes the silence can be deafening, too. When we’re given opportunity to speak on what’s right, I think it’s important to do that.”"

The Wolves continued their weekly Zoom calls on Wednesday. As part of these calls, the team has had internal speakers content as well as welcoming guest speakers. This week’s guest was Tru Pettigrew, who is “an expert in the area of connecting communities with police.”

Wolves players including Malik Beasley spoke to ESPN about wanting to make a difference in the community and help where they can.

"Beasley talked about how the young, rebuilding Wolves are searching to develop an identity. That comes with winning, yes, but this could be a part of it, too. “We talked about never wanting to see this happen again, and how could we play a part in that,” Beasley said."

Throughout the week, several athletes, including LeBron James and other NBA stars, reacted to Floyd’s death on social media.

The Timberwolves reacted to the tragedy on the team Twitter account earlier on Thursday.

Another quote from Wojnarowski’s piece:

"Understanding the plight of young African American men is a requirement to making the necessary connection to coach in the NBA, but he believes it is even more than that: It’s a requirement of an American citizen who wants this carnage to end.“He wanted us to feel his presence on this, even if he isn’t African American,” Beasley said. “He didn’t try to force it. It was genuine.”"

Clearly, Saunders wants to do what he can to help bridge any gaps that might exist and make sure his players know that he’s acting with genuine earnestness.

Next. 5 most successful former Wolves coaches. dark

We’ll see how everything develops, but here’s hoping that the Minnesota TImberowlves organization is able to make an impact on a community that’s hurting in a major way.