John Wiggins on Raptors’ power to speak up and drive change

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday that John Wiggins had been named their vice president of organizational culture and inclusion.

Wiggins joined Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Lead Off on Tuesday to discuss his new role and why it’s so crucial for the team to maintain a strong focus on social issues affecting the community and the country now and going forward.

“We really see ourselves as a pillar in this community and we don’t want to just stand by and kind of just speak on it,” Wiggins said. “As everybody knows, [Raptors president] Masai [Ujiri] is a man of action and I copy that sentiment. So for us, we want to think about our plan and really start to take action and initiatives that represent The Raptor Way.”

Lead Off with Ziggy and Scotty Mac

Raptors VP of organizational culture and inclusion on the newly created role

July 21 2020

Wiggins, who has been part of the Raptors organization for five years already and hails from Mississauga, is a firm believer that directives on such important issues around culture and inclusivity shouldn’t just be dished out from boardrooms.

“I’m a kid from Mississauga who knows the community, knows the GTA well. And I think that’s gonna be one of the first steps that I’m taking, is to get the voice from the community on a lot of these issues: Where do we need to be? How can we help and contribute? Where can we have an impact?” he explained.

For the Raptors, it starts within.

“‘Organizational’ starts with us,” he said, referring to his new job title. “We’re gonna make sure our house is in order. We can’t go out there and advocate on anything if we don’t kind of embody the change that we’re trying to see.”

Wiggins has seen firsthand the power of the NBA’s platform. “When we throw a party, three million people show up. So just imagine the impact that we can have,” he said.

We’ve seen the kind of power the Raptors have had on the sport of basketball in the GTA and across the country, and the organization has also come out strong on issues of racial injustice and inequality recently. Players, management, and the organization as a whole have all been very vocal in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

By appointing Wiggins to this new position, the club has made clear its mission to continue to drive conversations and propel action — both in the immediate future and down the road.

“We’re the champions, and we do things big,” Wiggins said. “So I think a year from now, I would hope that people have said we’ve had some immediate impact. We have a position of power and we want to do some powerful things with it.”

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