‘Disappointing for our country,’ Bulls coach Billy Donovan says of attack on U.S. Capitol

Donovan said there were no discussions with his players about sitting out the game Wednesday night in Sacramento, but there were plenty of conversations about what has been going on, especially in the wake of the deadly day at the U.S. Capitol.

SHARE ‘Disappointing for our country,’ Bulls coach Billy Donovan says of attack on U.S. Capitol
Billy Donovan said he learned a lot about social justice issues from Chris Paul when the two were together at Oklahoma City.

Billy Donovan said he learned a lot about social justice issues from Chris Paul when the two were together at Oklahoma City.

Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP

Bulls coach Billy Donovan said there were no discussions with his players about sitting out the game against the Kings on Wednesday in the wake of the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol.

But Donovan did have some important conversations with his coaching staff and players about a day he deemed “disappointing for our country.’’

“Obviously, I think it just goes to show that we still have a long way to go as a country,’’ Donovan said in a Zoom call. “[I’m] certainly extremely disappointed with what took place. 

‘‘With a back-to-back and film, staff meetings, players, I haven’t seen enough television or read enough, but obviously I was updated on the events by staff and coaches and players.

“I thought the players in the bubble did a really, really good job in just bringing awareness to a lot of the social-injustice issues that we need to address and get better at. This is a situation where we’ve got to be better. 

‘‘There are times we feel like we make some steps moving forward, and there are other times, things that happen here are disappointing for our country, and it shows we still have a ways to go. The only way we’re going to move forward is if we move forward together. Events like that don’t allow us to do those things.’’

NBA players were front and center when it came to social justice issues, especially when the 2019-20 season resumed in Florida.

One player who stepped forward was Chris Paul, whom Donovan coached in the bubble when he was still with the Thunder.

Donovan said he learned a lot from Paul and still has a lot to learn.

“Being with Chris Paul, who is the president of the players’ association, and what the players did in the bubble in terms of bringing awareness to a lot of these social injustice issues, listening to people’s experiences and talking about those things, it brings it to at least a point where you have an understanding of what somebody has been through,’’ Donovan said. “[Bulls assistant coach] Mo Cheeks has an incredible story. 

‘‘It’s a sad story, and he’s the greatest guy in the world, and to have him go through that, I just don’t think anyone in our country in 2021 should be living in fear. That’s the unfortunate part.

“So I think the discussions are important. You have to have it, and you have to listen. I think that’s really important — to listen and to hear and to try to understand.’’

Negative thoughts

While Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacono can’t play because of the NBA health and safety protocols, Donovan said they continue to test negative for the coronavirus.

The Bulls are working with the league to figure out a plan to at least get them in the Advocate Center to get some work in while the rest of the team is on the West Coast.

“[We’re] trying to work with the league to try to figure out a way that we can somehow get these guys in position that they can at least start to work out and start to ramp some things back up,’’ Donovan said.

Markkanen and Arcidiacono, along with Tomas Satoransky, were ruled out last week after Chandler Hutchison tested positive. Satoransky eventually tested positive, as well, and all four players skipped the road trip.

There was a scenario in which Markkanen and Arcidiacono could rejoin the team in Los Angeles, but that has been scrapped.

The Latest
The Blue Demons (3-23, 0-15 Big East) have lost 14 straight games by an average margin of 24.1 points.
After several months of immaculately cleaning up his teammates’ messes, Vlasic’s play has dipped a bit in February — in line with the Hawks, who lost 3-1 on Wednesday. But he believes he’s “getting better at erasing one mistake, one bad game,” and moving on.
Gabriel Gonzales, a 6-7 junior, scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while dueling in the post with 6-10 Illinois recruit Jason Jakstys.
A federal jury found Burke guilty in December of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.