The reaction and protests to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police says loud and clear how the general public feels when law enforcement oversteps its limits.  The protests and riots seen across the country, while somewhat misguided (that Starbucks coffee shop isn’t responsible), it’s no longer sufficient for law enforcement to say they’re peacekeepers if they’re not going to prove it at every turn.

Well-known sports figures haven’t wasted any time coming forward to voice their opinions on the George Floyd matter, either, asserting that they hope this serves as a message that people demand to be treated equally.

Shouting From The Mountaintops

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is undoubtedly one of the most respected individuals in the sports industry.  When he speaks, most people listen, ready to soak in his words of wisdom.

In an Op-Ed that was picked up by the Los Angeles Times, he said, in part, “Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts. I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”

Right up there with him is Michael Jordan, except Jordan doesn’t usually get involved in situations as polarizing as the George Floyd incident.

An excerpt of his statement on the subject reads, “I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”

Sports World Shows George Floyd Solidarity

There has been endless support for protesters on the part of the athletic community, and most of these have been engaging in peaceful protests that are designed to get their point across without the need for unnecessary violence.  Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics drove from Boston to his home state of Georgia to lead a protest that attracted hundreds of people, all of whom joined to march through the streets of Atlanta to show their solidarity.

The support for change to discrimination in the US extends well beyond the color of the skin, as well.  Harrison Butker, the prolific Kansas City Chiefs kicker, has voiced his support, adding that it’s sad that things have reached this point and that those responsible definitely need to be brought to justice.  Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings has joined his “African American brothers and sisters” to support them, even though he knows that they “feel this on a level [he] can’t possibly understand.”

Across the sports world, from the NFL to the Washington Wizards and from the Green Bay Packers to the NHL, there is a unified stance against racism and discrimination that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s.  George Floyd’s death shouldn’t have happened.  It’s obvious that the police officers involved are going to be held accountable for their actions, and rightfully so.  Perhaps some good will come out of the incident, though, as it might serve to bring everyone closer together.  However, it’s unfortunate that someone had to die for that to happen.