Sports personalities are enraged over the restraint shown by the police to largely white protesters – many armed with guns and rods – who occupied the highest seat of government and dented US' global image.

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021.
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, January 6, 2021. (Reuters)

Athletes, coaches, and former players have lodged a strong reaction to the storming of Capitol Hill by supporters of outgoing President Trump, with many drawing parallels between Black Lives Matter protests and right-wing demonstrators and how each of the protests was dealt with by security officials. 

"The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today's protesters who acted illegally just shows how much work we have to do," a joint statement from Boston Celtics and Miami Heat said on Wednesday night. 

"2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed," the statement said. 

"We play tonight's game with a heavy heart after yesterday's decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation's capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on." 

The reactions came hours after pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted a congressional vote to certify the US presidential election. 

One day earlier, news broke that the police officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, will not be charged.

Chaos in Capitol

The Capitol was under siege on Wednesday, as the nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas masks while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. 

A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington's mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.

More than 50 protesters have been arrested so far, police say. 

READ MORE: Shocking, disgraceful and worrying: World reacts to US Capitol Hill riots

Controversial police reaction 

National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts expressed disappointment and frustration about the ongoing double-standard regarding race in the country.

"Every single player that contacted me – or that I contacted – saw the same connection to the Blake shooting being justified," Roberts told ESPN. 

"We were watching these people essentially committing treason at the Capitol and I have yet to hear about a single shot being fired.

"On a day like this, it's the first thing that comes to mind. And all I can say is that I'm grateful knowing that hopefully, nobody who looks like me is going to Capitol Hill to respond to this, because if they do, you'll see a different response by law enforcement. You know it – and I know it," Roberts said.

What if Black people stormed Capitol?

His sentiment was echoed by Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers.

"It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways," Rivers said. 

"I'll say it because I don't think a lot of people want to, could you imagine today if those were all Black people storming the Capitol and what would've happened?"

"No police dogs turned on people, no billy clubs hitting people, people peacefully being escorted out of the Capitol. So it shows that you can disperse a crowd peacefully, I guess, would be the one thing," Rivers said.

Not long after, the play came to a halt moments after the Detroit Pistons tipped off against the host Milwaukee Bucks. 

All 10 players on the court stopped and took a knee after the opening tip.

'Domestic terrorism'

Many other athletes reacted to the day's events on social media.

"An absolute disgrace what's happening at the US Capitol right now," Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love wrote on Twitter. 

"And a blatant example of inequity in how law enforcement chooses to deal with those involved."

US football player Megan Rapinoe mocked police on Twitter for opening gates to protesters at Capitol Hill. 

Former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade wrote on Twitter: "Black people get pulled over and don’t make it out alive. We can’t sleep in our own beds without being killed. We can’t jog without being killed. We can’t walk down the street with our hoodies up without being killed but they can do this???"

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy added, "If you are an American and aren't embarrassed by the domestic terrorism taking place at the Capitol there is something wrong with you. This is a shameful day for our country."

READ MORE: Leader of neo-fascist Proud Boys arrested ahead of pro-Trump rallies

Source: TRTWorld and agencies