The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dwayne Haskins expresses frustration over decision in Breonna Taylor case

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins thought it was “disgusting” no police officers were indicted by a grand jury for the killing of Breonna Taylor. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After a Kentucky grand jury declined to indict police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor on Wednesday afternoon, Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins was frustrated. The 22-year-old spoke at length about Taylor during his weekly news conference, and he said he planned to meet with the team’s veteran players to discuss potential action moving forward.

“It’s really disgusting to think about [no charges in this case] because of how fragile human life is and the importance of your last breath,” he said. “I feel like in situations like this we can’t be too [desensitized] to it because you have to understand the importance of life. … [To] just think, ‘Oh, whatever happened happened,’ and to move on isn’t fair. If it was my sister or my mom or my dad or if I have kids one day, even my kids, I’ll be frank, I’ll be pissed off. Very pissed off.”

While “life isn’t fair,” Haskins acknowledged, he considered this decision “really disappointing because justice should be served for her death.” He saw the decision to indict one officer for shooting into a neighboring apartment — but not any officers indicted over Taylor’s death — as an instance of broader injustices, such as police brutality and systemic racism. Haskins urged people to think of this situation as “bigger than just sports or politics or the color of your skin.”

Coach Ron Rivera said he was dismayed at the situation as well, though he expressed optimism because of the “Justice for Breonna Taylor Act,” legislation that prohibits no-knock warrants, which allow law enforcement to enter a home without announcing their authority or purpose.

“What that’s going to do is it’s going to prevent situations like this one from occurring,” Rivera said. “That’s the one thing that’s going to be, unfortunately, her legacy. She was taken way too soon. She was a bright, brilliant young lady. It’s very unfortunate and [a] very tragic situation. But again: I support the Black Lives Matter movement.”

For Haskins, the next step is action. He wasn’t sure what yet because, when he spoke with reporters Wednesday, it was about an hour after the decision was announced. He wanted to give himself 24 hours to think of ways for the team to connect with the community and then reach out to veterans and Rivera.

“I’m going to go home and reflect,” he said, adding, “Not necessarily that we have to do a stunt or do a performance or anything like that, because people are dying every day. [But] it’s very important for us, [and] we want to come to an actual change.”

Read more:

After two games, Ron Rivera wonders if Washington’s coaches are asking players to do too much

Svrluga: As Kyler Murray soars, Dwayne Haskins is still playing catch-up