The entire nation is reeling after the death of George Floyd, an African-American man in Minneapolis killed after a police officer was caught on video kneeling on his neck for over seven minutes. Floyd’s death has sparked protests against police brutality, specifically against the African-American community, across the country. People are taking to the streets to educate others and demand an end to racism.
Those protests have featured a number of prominent members of the increasingly socially conscious sports community. Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown evenfrom Boston to Atlanta to participate in protests there. Trae Young spoke at a peaceful protest and many others have walked with people asking for change.
Even those who did not participate in the protests directly have used their platforms to voice their opinions. Some of the biggest names in sports including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods and Alex Ovechkin are using their voices to help create a necessary change. One notable group response came from the Ohio State football team:
They were far from the only prominent athletes to speak out. Below is just a sampling of the sports world’s reaction to what is happening around the country.
Trae Young spoke at peaceful protests.
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Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri penned a piece that was published in the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, in response to the protests. Ujiri acknowledged the 2019 incident when a police officer stopped him from joining the Raptors on the court following their NBA championship victory.
“If it was another team president heading for the court — a white team president — would he have been stopped by that officer? I’ve wondered that,” Ujiri wrote. “I recognize what happened in Oakland last June is very different from what happened in Minneapolis last Monday. My own experience only cost me a moment; Mr. Floyd’s experience cost him his life.”
In the NFL, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York announced that he is donating $1 million to “local and national organizations who are creating change” amid the protests.
Floyd was a friend of former NBA player Stephen Jackson.
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The UFC’s Jon Jones spoke to TMZ about Floyd’s death saying, “Anyone who has practiced the very basics of jujitsu recognizes a [blood choke] when they see this. That was as clear as day murder, torture.”
“What that man went through was worse than drowning,” Jones added. “I wouldn’t wish the way George Floyd was murdered on my worst enemy. That officer applied just enough pressure to keep him alive for almost six minutes in that chokehold. In all my years of fighting I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything close to that level of torture.”