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This is why athletes kneel: The sports world reacts to the murder of George Floyd

The world reacted to the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, caught on camera.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, was handcuffed and pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee. Floyd was clearly not resisting, and bystanders pleaded for the officer to loosen his grip.

Floyd could be heard saying “I can’t breathe,” and yet still, the officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck, and none of the other surrounding officers did anything to stop their partner.

The brutality and subsequent death of Floyd brought back memories of the 2014 death of Eric Garner. To Michael Brown. To a plethora of other Black men and women who have been the victim of police brutality, and still nothing has changed. This Time cover captures the issue well.


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I’m so extremely angry. This bullshit has to stop! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

A post shared by Halle Berry (@halleberry) on

America, a country whose foundation was built upon slavery and racist ideologies, is still entrenched in those racist systems. Has anything truly changed since the civil rights movement? People are angry, and those who aren’t, aren’t paying attention.

Athletes took to the internet to voice their grief, their fear, their sadness and regret over George Floyd’s death and the number of other Black lives lost due to police violence.

LeBron James, the King, the tireless advocate for justice and the everyman’s prosperity, was adamant in his frustration over Floyd’s death and people who criticize why athletes use their platforms to address social issues.


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Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? 🤦🏾‍♂️ #StayWoke👁

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

After Ahmaud Arbery’s death, around three weeks ago, the King shared a message in anger, fear, and despair, saying how Black people are hunted every day.

Colin Kaepernick, whose social efforts are well found beyond just the scope of his kneeling stance, posted to Instagram a message essentially declaring “enough is enough.”


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Steph Curry posted a message on Instagram as well. “George pleaded for help and was just straight up ignored, which speaks loud and clear that his black life didn’t matter,” said the Golden State Warriors superstar.

These athletes may be millionaires, but money does not solve injustice in this country. Money does not protect those that are immediately targeted and stereotyped because of the color of their skin.

And even if it did, athletes rightly feel a responsibility to stand up for those without a voice, to use their platforms to try and enact change.

Former NBA star Stephen Jackson, known for his hotheaded and honest personality, joined The Today Show to speak about Floyd, a lifelong friend of his, and the murder of black people in this country.

I will note that The Today Show saying, “died while in Minneapolis police custody” in its caption is inaccurate and insensitive. Floyd was murdered on the street while not resisting arrest and over a petty crime.

It is worth considering whether calling for manslaughter or murder is even enough for the cop who killed Floyd, and the others who were complicit in his death. Not only are cops who murder innocent people performing murder, but it is their authority, and only that, that gives them the power to be violent and murder in the first place.

Not surprisingly, Jackson was distraught during the interview.

Referring to Floyd calling out for his deceased mother in the video, Jackson said,

“I’m a black man and I’m a strong black man and I know Floyd. That’s a cry for help. We don’t scream our mother’s name like that unless we know something is wrong and our life is in jeopardy and we can’t control it.”

The ability to take pictures and record videos at any moment has spread awareness on issues sensible people always knew existed. Discrimination, racist behavior towards black people, police brutality all across the country. The fact that the cop kept his leg on Floyd even while being recorded should let anyone know that he understands his white privilege, and was not fearful of the ramifications.

Athletes have such power in this world, but in such a bleak time, it’s hard to imagine what even they can do. A revolution is coming, sooner than later. Rest In Power George Floyd, your name will not be forgotten.

Here are more athletes, coaches, and retired players who’ve let their voices be heard via social media: