Sports players around the world break their silence amid widespread protests in the US.
Protests have continued to rock the US in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American who died after being choked to death by a white police officer.
Now, a number of international sports personalities have added their voices in support of those protesting.
The French-Italian professional footballer, Marcus Thuram, who plays as a forward in the German Bundesliga, dropped to one knee praising the outpouring as a “powerful gesture” of support.
Lilian Thuram, Marcus' father, has been a longtime anti-racism activist, calling out "white supremacy" in the footballing world.
Powerful moment here at Borussia-Park as Marcus Thuram takes the knee after scoring.@borussia_en are now two nil up just before the break.— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 31, 2020
Watch live now on HD11 📺#beINBundesliga #BMGFCU pic.twitter.com/PZQ4pBs2GP
Four years ago, the NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, knelt down during the national anthem before a match. He was protesting at the continuing institutional racism in the US that affects African Americans.
The trend that Kaepernick began, spread throughout the National Football League (NFL) and drew criticism from US President Donald Trump who urged team owners to let players go. After Kaepernick’s protests, no NFL Team would sign the player.
Guys: this is not difficult. Teams are avoiding Kaepernick because they don't like fact he took knee for anthem.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) May 9, 2017
No other reason.
England forward Jadon Malik Sancho took a page out of Thuram’s book. The Borussia Dortmund player revealed a message on his T-shirt at the weekend after scoring. It read, “Justice for George Floyd”.
In a tweet, Sancho said “First professional hat trick. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.”
First professional hat trick 🙏🏼. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! ❤️ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/ntOtwOySCO— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) May 31, 2020
Liverpool player, Rhian Joel Brewster, wrote in a lengthy Twitter post about his ongoing experience with racist abuse.
“Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard,” said the 20-year-old striker.
Brewster added that “This goes beyond just #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, we need justice for us as Human beings. We don’t want special privilege.”
This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up. Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Lo3pvJlTQJ— Rhian Brewster (@RhianBrewster9) May 31, 2020
Other athletes speak out
British athlete, Dina Asher-Smith, echoed the views of protestors in the US and said “Racism, police brutality... all of this is something we all have to be vocal about. Irrespective of our race or nationality.”
The British sprinter also referred to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his peaceful protests adding, “This is why people kneel.”
Been cutting down my Twitter time lately but came on to add to the calls for #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd— Dina Asher-Smith (@dinaashersmith) May 28, 2020
Why is that man not in jail?
This is why people kneel. Racism, police brutality... all of this is something we all have to be vocal about. Irrespective of our race or nationality
American tennis player and 16-year-old Cori "Coco" Gauff added her voice to the sentiments, saying she was in “tears” after having watched the video.
I am in tears watching this video... everyday innocent people are dying because of our skin color. No one deserves to die like that. I just can’t believe this. This needs to stop. #GeorgeFloyd— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) May 27, 2020
Serena Williams, the former world number one Tennis player, and 23-time Grand Slam champion, said on her social media account, “I can’t and still can’t find the words to say or express how sad I feel.”
View this post on Instagram
I can’t and still can’t find the words to say or express how sad I feel.... but she found them for me. She found them for so many of us. A lot of us are numb... lost for words... I know I am. This is a difficult time. A lot of us growing up were taught to pray “Let thy kingdom come,” this is what I continue to pray for in addition to so many that have been hurt/killed, or simply traumatized by how people of a different color are treated. The worst part is this is nothing new, “it’s just filmed.” I’m with a heavy heart. I’m lost for words. Video from @wealth
Williams added that this was just one of many instances African-Americans have suffered at the hands of police violence.
“The worst part is this is nothing new, “it’s just filmed, she said. “I’m with a heavy heart.”
Michael Jordan, arguably the world's most famous basketball player, also spoke out on Sunday.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," said Jordan in a statement posted online.
In an Instagram story, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, also criticised his mainly “white-dominated” industry for not speaking out.
“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” said 35-year-old Hamilton.
“There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change,” he added.