The video footage of George Floyd being murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has outraged people throughout and beyond the United States. During this tragedy, countless athletes brazenly showed their disdain for the existence of racism in various ways.
Former world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather will be paying for the funeral of Floyd. The services will be held in Houston on June 9.
Former NBA star Stephen Jackson gave a speech about Floyd, who were childhood friends, during a rally on Friday at the Minneapolis City Hall Rotunda.
“I’m here because they’re not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson said at the rally. “A lot of times, when police do things, they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up,”
Stephen Jackson with just about the most powerful words I’ve ever heard pic.twitter.com/7guc6O4T6W
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) May 29, 2020
Minnesota Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie were also in attendance at the rally. Lakers All-Star Lebron James took to Twitter on Sunday asking, “why doesn’t America love us?” He also retweeted speeches by rapper Killer Mike and TV show host Jimmy Kimmel as well as peaceful protests done in Washington D.C. and in Denver, Colorado.
“Is the media showing this??? I bet they aren’t. This is beautiful,” James stated in a retweet of the Washington D.C. protest where demonstrators kneeled and chanted “stop killing Black people.”
Media showing this???? I bet you they’re not. 🤦🏾♂️! You know why, cause this is unity, peaceful, beautiful and love! https://t.co/QkgH2SFmON
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 1, 2020
As the people of Minneapolis began an uprising, former NFL Star Colin Kaepernick published a post on Instagram noting that fighting back is within their rights.
“When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction,” Kaepernick stated. “The cries for peace will rain down and when they do, they will land on deaf ears because your violence has brought this resistance.”
Through his Know Your Rights Camp organization, Kaepernick is teaming up with the top defense lawyers in Minneapolis to start an initiative to give legal representation to protesters in that city.
The entire squad knelt in Anfield’s centre circle ahead of today’s training session in a powerful show of support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
— Liverpool FC (at 🏠) (@LFC) June 1, 2020
Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an opinion piece expressing his understanding towards the rioters, referring to recent stressors: COVID-19 killing black people at higher rates than whites, unemployment due to the pandemic, and the recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
“Just as the slimy underbelly of institutional racism is being exposed, it feels like hunting season is open on blacks,” Abdul-Jabbar stated. “President Trump’s recent tweets confirm the national zeitgeist as he calls protesters “thugs” and looters fair game to be shot.”
Washington Mystics Guard Natasha Cloud wrote an article in the Players Tribune called “Your Silence Is a Knee on My Neck,” urging all athletes to speak out. South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley also published a piece on the Players Tribune called “Black People Are Tired.”
“What do I say to my players? They’re like my kids,” Staley stated. “I want to give them at least some hope that what happened to George Floyd will never happen to them, but I don’t have the words. Because the truth is: That very well could happen to any of us.”
Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown traveled from Boston to Atlanta by car to lead a peaceful protest.
“Being a celebrity, being a NBA player, don’t exclude me from no conversation at all,” Brown said. “I’m a black man and I’m a member of the community. … We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing.”
— Nike (@Nike) May 29, 2020
In Philadelphia, 76ers forward Tobias Harris marched among fleets of protesters on Saturday. Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores posted a statement noting the irony of people being outraged by Kaepernick’s national anthem protest.
“Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women,” Flores stated.
Nike was some of the many companies that made a statement to speak up against racism in a 1-minute video. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers released a statement noting that “being Black in America is tough.”
Statement from Head Coach Brian Flores. pic.twitter.com/dJOdHHSvNT
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 29, 2020
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma posted a photo of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck with the caption “This virus been around for 400+ years. Still no vaccine …”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady posted a photo with the hashtag #JusticeForFloyd. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow stated that the “Black community needs our help” on Twitter. Among the MLB players who spoke out was New York Mets Pitcher Marcus Stroman.
“Racism is thriving in America. That’s a fact,” Stroman said. “If you choose to turn a blind eye towards it…you’re part of the problem.”