The death of George Floyd provoked a wave of international emotion, including in the world of sport. Many stars have rebelled in recent days, in response to the death of this African-American, killed by the police in Minneapolis, in the United States. NBA star LeBron James, who is very politically engaged, obviously shared his anger. But other athletes, usually very discreet about social issues, like Michael Jordan, have also taken a stand.
>> READ - Death of George Floyd: "It's a multicultural America, black and white, which manifests"
LeBron James, the (always) engaged star
American stars, many of them of African-American origin, mobilized very soon after the death of George Floyd. LeBron James, very politically engaged for years, had reacted since last Wednesday. The star of Los Angeles Lakers had published on Instagram a montage showing him with a black t-shirt, with the inscription "I can't breathe" ("I can't breathe"), the sentence spoken by George Floyd just before his death, with the word 'Still' in legend. LeBron James has multiplied since the posts on his social networks, especially on Twitter.
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A publication shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on May 27, 2020 at 9:43 am PDT
Many American basketball players and footballers have also expressed their anger. Boston Celtics player Jaylen Brown, for example, drove fifteen hours to take part in a peaceful demonstration in Atlanta. Icon Serena Williams posted an Instagram video of an emotionally overwhelmed young girl to a public meeting on Instagram: "We are black and we shouldn't have to feel like that."
Michael Jordan reacted, the shocking spot of Nike
More surprisingly, Michael Jordan came out of his usual reserve, he who refused to take a position on social and political issues during his playing career. The legend of the Chicago Bulls denounced in a press release "racism rooted" in the United States, saying "deeply saddened, genuinely suffering and totally angry".
"We have had enough," continued Michael Jordan, saying "alongside those who speak out against deep-rooted racism and violence against people of color in our country (...). We must continue peaceful expression against injustice and ask for recognition of responsibilities, "he said.
Its historic sponsor, Nike, once again hit hard with a video posted on social networks. The equipment manufacturer, who has been involved politically for several years, has thus diverted its slogan "Just Do It". "For once, 'Don't Do It' ... Don't pretend there isn't a problem in America," Nike tweeted Friday night. Exceptionally, his competitor Adidas retweeted the message, with these words: "Together we are moving forward. Together we are making a difference."
Let's all be part of the change. # UntilWeAllWinpic.twitter.com / guhAG48Wbp- Nike (@Nike) May 29, 2020
Lewis Hamilton denounces the silence of Formula 1, "dominated by whites"
The mobilization of athletes has greatly exceeded the American borders. Six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton denounced the silence of the "biggest stars" in the "white-dominated" discipline. "Some of you are among the biggest stars and yet you remain silent in the face of injustice," wrote the Mercedes driver on Instagram, on the night of Sunday to Monday
"No one moves a finger in my industry which is of course a white dominated sport. I am one of the only people of color there, I am still alone," added the 35-year-old Briton. "I would have thought that you would now see why this is happening and react but you cannot stand by our side. Just know that I know who you are and that I see you," writes Hamilton again.
The strong gesture of Marcus Thuram, Kylian Mbappé joins the mobilization
In France too, sportspeople spoke. Kylian Mbappé split a tweet with a raised fist emoji, with the hashtag #JusticeForGeorge (justice for George):
✊ #JusticeForGeorge- Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) May 30, 2020
The strongest gesture of the weekend is to the credit of Marcus Thuram. The French forward, son of Lilian Thuram, knelt down after his goal with his club Mönchengladbach on Sunday in his team's 4-1 victory over the Union in the German league.
A gesture that had been made a few years ago by the American footballer Colin Kaepernick to denounce, already at the time, the police violence. The young African American, who has become one of the muses of Nike, has been banned from the NFL, the powerful American football championship, and has never replayed for a franchise since his positions. A sign that in sport too there is a lot, a lot of work.