Upon the recent presidential election results, cities like Oakland, Seattle and Portland, among others, have started civil protests in spite of President-elect Donald Trump.
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard shared his candid thoughts on the local protests, which have not only seen highways I-5 and I-84 surrounded by protesters, but have been accompanied by property damage and violence.
“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's Chris Haynes 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.”
Lillard has taken his position as the Blazers' franchise player to become a voice of reason among citizens in the area.
Incidents of vandalism and assault prompted riot police to use flash bangs and tear gas to keep the protesters at bay. A male protester was shot on Friday, although his injuries aren't considered life-threatening.
“For someone to be shot on the bridge lets you know it has gone too far,” said Lillard. “That could have been a kid out there or any person catching a stray bullet.”
Lillard, an Oakland native who is no stranger to protests and riots, added that Oregon voted heavily against Trump, which only makes violence all the more pointless.
“Especially when the majority of the people here voted for Hillary,” he added. “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.”
Sometimes it takes one public figure to make a change for an entire city, just like David Ortiz who famously encouraged the city of Boston to stay together after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Wise words, Dame.