In the USA, rallies provoked by the murder of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis have not stopped for several days. Protesters complain about the actions of the authorities and the arbitrariness of the police.
Many athletes and coaches have expressed solidarity with the protesters in the fight against racism. Representatives of leading North American leagues did not stand aside. So, in the National Hockey League (NHL) supported players in favor of justice and systemic changes.
“The NHL supports those who seek to create a society that is fair to all races, and opposes those who support racism, hatred, intolerance and violence,” the NHL statement said.
Earlier, similar statements were made in the National Football League (NFL), and the commissioner of the National Basketball League (NBA) Adam Silver admitted that he was encouraged by the actions of athletes who were not afraid to demonstrate their position.
“Together with our teams and players, we will continue to promote common unity and overcome differences through collective action, civic engagement, as well as sincere dialogue and support for organizations working in the name of justice and equality,” journalist Vincent Goodville quoted Silver as saying.
At the same time, in many US cities, demonstrations got out of hand and turned into pogroms. People set fire to cars and buildings, and also rob the unattended shops. Some athletes criticized such illegal actions and called for solving the problem peacefully.
Among them was one of the most scandalous basketball players in the history of the NBA, Dennis Rodman. He called to stop the riots, recalling that the problem of the coronavirus has not yet been resolved in society.
“Someone has to say,“ Hey guys. Why are we looting? Why rob? Why are we creating even more problems? ” The situation was very bad. But if you want to protest, do it peacefully. It is not necessary to burn and steal something. Please understand: we need to live together. We damn people, not animals, ”Rodman quotes TMZ.
At the same time, UFC light heavyweight champion John Jones suggested that the protests have long been unrelated to the events in Minneapolis.
“Why are some jerks smashing our city?” I understand how angry everyone is. But so the issues are not resolved. We will only make the situation worse, ”Jones wrote on Instagram.
Former Chicago Bulls basketball player Michael Jordan deplored the death of Floyd and called for the eradication of racism in the United States as soon as possible. He noted that peaceful protests are necessary for the situation to change for the better.
“Our unanimity should force our leaders to change laws, otherwise we will have to use our vote in the elections to implement systemic changes. Each of us must be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all, ”said Jordan.
Forward Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James posted a video of a peaceful demonstration, condemning the media for covering only pogroms.
Media showing this ???? I bet you they're not. 🤦🏾♂️! You know why, cause this is unity, peaceful, beautiful and love! https://t.co/QkgH2SFmON- LeBron James (@KingJames) June 1, 2020
British pilot Mercedes Lewis Hamilton criticized colleagues from Formula 1, who refrained from speaking out about the murder of Floyd. At the same time, the driver emphasized that he condemns the actions of vandals and looters and supports peaceful protesters
“Peace is impossible until our so-called leaders initiate change. It is not only about America, but also about Great Britain, Spain, Italy and so on. Attitudes towards minorities must change. It is necessary to tell everyone in your country about equality, racism and class division and that we are all equal. We are not born racists with hatred in the heart, this we are taught by those with whom we take an example ", - wrote Hamilton on Instagram.
In turn, Karim Abdul-Jabbar, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, agreed that blunts sometimes occur under the guise of protests, however, he said, they draw attention to the problem of discrimination.
“I don't want to see looted shops or burnt buildings. But African Americans have been living in a “burning house” for many years, choking on smoke, and the fire is getting closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. You can choke on him, but you can’t see him until you let in the sunlight, ”wrote Abdul-Jabbar in his Los Angeles Times column.
The 1992 Olympic champion Darius Kasparaitis, who currently resides in Miami, also responded to the protest situation. He admitted that he was shocked by the murder of Floyd, but expressed concern that the unrest could have serious consequences.
“What is happening now is just awful. It’s one thing to set up demonstrations, but breaking and burning everything you can is completely different. So people are not in a very good mood, everyone is afraid, ”quotes Kasparaitis Sport24.
Former UFC fighter Oleg Taktarov, who has also lived in the United States for several years, suggested that riots would wane in the near future and violators would be punished.
“I think that everything that began in Minneapolis, and then in other US cities, is the work of the instigators. This is most likely a complete discredit of Donald Trump. But in the USA, this happened before, in the beginning of the 90s. Although then it flared up in one city, if I’m not mistaken, but now we see that the riots spread to the whole country, ”Taktarov recalled.
However, some athletes became direct participants in the protests. Basketball players Jaylene Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson took part in a peaceful demonstration in Atlanta, and San Antonio Spurs defender Lonnie Walker helped eliminate the effects of the rallies.
Spurs' @ lonniewalker_4 helping to remove graffiti from a building
He's also been handing out water to workers who are cleaning up after the protest 🙏 pic.twitter.com/QjbWV20A4T
However, unpleasant situations also occurred. One of them was the NBA champion in the Cleveland Cavaliers Jay Ar Smith. He beat a white-skinned man after he allegedly broke glass in his car. The incident occurred in Los Angeles.
Later, the basketball player published a video in which he explained his actions. According to him, he just wanted to teach a bully a lesson.
“This is not a hate crime. I have no complaints against anyone, and no one claims against me. The problem is the hell system, that’s all, ”Smith said.