Wed, 15 Jul 2020

Sports Teams, Figures Express Support for US Protests

Voice of America
02 Jun 2020, 04:05 GMT+10

Major U.S. sports figures and teams, as well as international sports franchises have issued statements regarding the death George Floyd at the hands of police last week that has spawned protests in cities across the nation.

Perhaps the strongest team statement came from the Washington Wizards, the National Basketball Association (NBA) team in the nation's capital. On its Twitter account, late Sunday, the team posted what it said was a "united statement from our players."

The statement read "We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country. We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement. We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color. We will no longer shut up and dribble."

The NBA Dallas Mavericks also issued a statement, saying they "will NOT stand for injustice, inequity, and disparity."

Legendary Former NBA player Michael Jordan, who famously avoided taking strong political stands as a player, also posted a statement from his Twitter account, saying "I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough."

Overseas, soccer team FC Barcelona issued a statement from its Twitter account, condemning racism and discrimination in all forms, saying they will not stop fighting it.

A coalition of U.S. National Football League (NFL) players issued a statement Saturday calling on local, state and federal officials to act in the wake of the Floyd killing and other recent killing of unarmed black people. Several high-profile individual NFL players and coaches have also issued statements on the issue.

NFL players speaking out is significant considering the case of former San Francisco 49er quarterback Collin Kaepernick. In 2016, Kaepernick led a protest with several teammates and other players around the league in which he took a knee during the playing of the U.S. national anthem to call attention to police mistreatment of African Americans and racial inequities.

Kaepernick was harshly criticized by conservatives - including U.S. President Donald Trump - who called his actions "unAmerican." Kaepernick left the 49ers after the 2016 season and was unable to catch on with another NFL team. He filed a grievance with the NFL, accusing its 32 teams of colluding to keep him from playing. The league reached a settlement with Kaepernick and a former teammate who joined him in the kneeling protests, Eric Reid.

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