Athletes across the sports world are taking part in demonstrations demanding justice for George Floyd and protesting police brutality.NBA stars Jaylen Brown and Malcolm Brogdon took part in a march in Atlanta on Saturday, with Brown driving 15 hours to march in his home state.NFL wide receivers Auden Tate and Ray-Ray McCloud helped clean-up efforts in their home city of Tampa on Sunday.In Germany’s Bundesliga, a trio of players dedicated their goals on Sunday to Floyd.Other athletes, including LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Colin Kaepernick, have put out statements in response to Floyd’s death.As sports in the United States begin to restart after their seasons were suspended due to coronavirus, it’s possible that we see more displays of solidarity from athletes in the near future.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Athletes in both the NBA and NFL marched with protesters over the weekend demanding justice for the death of George Floyd.Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life. Since his death, protests against police brutality have taken place in cities across the United States.Star players across the sports world have responded with calls of action of their own — Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James, shared statements on social media, as did Michael Jordan.Other athletes are taking part in more direct action. Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was a personal friend of Floyd’s, gave an emotional speech in Minneapolis to a collection of reporters and demonstrators on Friday. Jackson was joined by fellow NBA players, including Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves, as well as Gary Trent Jr. and Royce White, both Minnesota natives.
On Saturday, Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who is a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, marched in Atlanta with a sign that read “I can’t breathe.”
“I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community,” Brown said, per ESPN. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community. … We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices that we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.”Brown was joined by his fellow NBPA vice president Malcolm Brogdon, as well as Brogdon’s former teammate at Virginia, Justin Anderson, who plays for the Long Island Nets of the G League.Brogdon spoke with the crowd on a megaphone.
“This is a moment,” Brogdon said. “We have leverage right now. We have a moment in time. People are going to look back, our kids are going to look back at this and say, ‘You were a part of that.’ I’ve got a grandfather that marched next to Dr. King in the ’60s, and he was amazing. He would be proud to see us all here. We’ve got to keep pushing forward.”—Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 31, 2020Other NBA athletes took part in protests in other parts of the country. Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers joined protesters at City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday. His teammate, Mike Scott joined him “in spirit” via FaceTime.—Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) May 30, 2020Former Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins also marched with protesters through Center City.—John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 31, 2020In addition to those that marched with protesters, some athletes chose to help clean up in the aftermath.
Spurs guard Lonnie Walker joined volunteers in San Antonio on Sunday, handing out water bottles and helping to remove graffiti from buildings.—SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 31, 2020On Twitter, Walker put out a statement calling for unity.—Lonnie Walker IV (@lonniewalker_4) May 31, 2020In Tampa, Bengals receiver Auden Tate and Bills receiver Ray-Ray McCloud helped organize another clean-up effort.—Grace Remington (@GraceRemiWTSP) June 1, 2020—RayRay McCloud III (@RMIII_34) May 31, 2020 Others in the NFL shared their thoughts on social media, with many players speaking out after the league put out a statement saying there was an “urgent need for action.”
The league’s statement read as hypocritical, as the NFL had taken steps to ban players from protesting police brutality by kneeling the national anthem in the summer of 2018, before quickly backtracking on the measure.Kenny Stills and Eric Reid, two players who had taken a knee during the anthem during their NFL careers, called out the NFL for what they saw as lip service.—Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) May 30, 2020—Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) May 30, 2020The demand for justice for Floyd by athletes even spread beyond the United States. On Saturday, American midfielder Weston McKennie, who plays for Schalke in the Bundesliga in addition to the USMNT, paid tribute on Saturday by wearing an armband that read “Justice for George.”On Sunday, a trio of his fellow Bundesliga players joined him, with Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, and Marcus Thuram all dedicating their goals to Floyd. Sancho and Achraf had written “Justice for George Floyd” on their undershirts, revealing them after their goals, while Thuram took a knee after netting a goal of his own.
—Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) May 31, 2020—roger bennett (@rogbennett) May 31, 2020As more American sports move towards restarting their seasons after they were forced into suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it possible that we’ll continue to see more displays of solidarity.A UFC champion took to the streets during the George Floyd protests to fight crime, making vandals surrender cans of spray paint’We have had enough’: Michael Jordan calls for change in statement on the death of George Floyd
Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho reveals ‘Justice for George Floyd’ shirt during goal celebrationNFL faces online backlash after releasing a statement describing an ‘urgent need for action’ amid George Floyd protestsDolphins coach Brian Flores says he hasn’t seen the same outrage over George Floyd’s death as he saw over Colin Kaepernick kneeling