SU basketball’s Griffin calls for change following another incident of police brutality

Alan Griffin discusses racial injustice, police brutality

The recent Illinois transfer and Ossining, N.Y. native says he's disturbed by Jacob Blake's shooting.
Published: August 28, 2020
Former Illinois wing Alan Griffin announced his plans to transfer to Syracuse
Former Illinois wing Alan Griffin, shown here on Feb. 7 against Maryland, has transferred to play at Syracuse this season.

Syracuse basketball landed one of the top transfers in the country this offseason, as former Illinois guard Alan Griffin decided to join the Orange. On Aug. 18, Griffin received a waiver from the NCAA, allowing him to compete right away rather than sitting out the upcoming season.

There’s no denying that Griffin is a leader – on and off the court. Last season with the Fighting Illini, he averaged 8.9 points per game and 4.5 rebounds, in just 18 minutes of playing time per matchup. In his sophomore season, Griffin was instrumental in helping Illinois to one of its most successful years in the past decade.

“I’ve always been a leader,” said Griffin. “Even while young, I always wanted to be a leader — and that’s something I can really do.”

A native of Ossining, N.Y., Griffin is expected to be a strong presence at guard, especially following the departure of Elijah Hughes, and Syracuse fans are in for a treat when he steps onto the court for the first time inside the Carrier Dome.

But Griffin’s knack for leadership and his maturity run deeper than handling the ball during a full-court press. For now, basketball can wait. What can’t wait are the conversations that need to be had and action that needs to be taken towards ending racial injustice and police brutality, which Griffin made clear when talking to reporters Friday.

“It’s hard for some people to say, but I want to use my platform for speaking about what’s going on in today’s world because it’s not right,” Griffin said. “I feel like we’re all one, but you can’t put somebody else’s life in front of someone else. We’re all human, and you only get one life.”

Griffin referring to Jacob Blake, the unarmed black man who was shot seven times in the back at point-blank range by a police officer and is now paralyzed. Griffin described the incident as disturbing, and that this is something that should affect everyone.

“We’ve gone about it in nice ways protesting,” he said. “How many more families do we need to see step up to podiums talking about a life they’ve lost in their family?”

What Griffin spoke about was not only this most recent incident but a long line of injustice that black people in America have faced.

“Speaking about it several times seems like it’s not enough,” Griffin said, explaining that, while conversations are key to progress, real change won’t occur without action.

Griffin took it a step further, urging people to do their part and vote in the upcoming election. Pete Moore, SU basketball’s sports information director, also confirmed that all of the players who were eligible to vote had registered.

“Roles for athletes have gotten way stronger,” said Griffin, stressing that as a basketball player, he has a voice and a platform to speak up on these issues.

Griffin has yet to play for the Orange, but he’s already making his presence known to ‘Cuse fans. He made it clear Friday that he’s not just here for basketball; he’s here to be a part of real change, in Syracuse and beyond.