As protests in major North American cities continue, most athletes here and around the world are continuing to use their voice to call for justice and change. And when there’s so much misinformation spreading throughout an already divided nation, athletes' voices, actions and leadership are incredibly important.
The GIST: As protests in major North American cities continue, most athletes here and around the world are continuing to use their voice to call for justice and change. And when there’s so much misinformation spreading throughout an already divided nation, athletes' voices, actions and leadership are incredibly important.
Speaking up: Athletes of every race and every sport — from basketball, hockey, football, baseball to figure skating — have been using their giant social media platforms to spread awareness, call for justice and share resources for donations and education.
- Formula One (F1) driver Lewis Hamilton made an impassioned plea, calling out literally everyone in F1 for not speaking up. Hamilton is the first and only Black driver in Formula One’s 70-year history (yes, really), and his call to action saw a flood of responses from his fellow drivers and backing from his team.
Taking action: In addition to sports figures speaking out online, many are taking action. Houston Texans quarterback (QB) Deshaun Watson marched in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston on Tuesday, alongside linebackers Jacob Martin and Peter Kalambayi, and yesterday Golden State Warriors superstars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson protested in Oakland.
- Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott pledged $1 million to improve police training and education on systemic racism.
- And Stephen Jackson, former NBA star and friend of George Floyd, shared a GoFundMe for Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna, and has pledged to support her in her father’s absence. P.K. Subban and the NHL each donated $50k to help the fund surpass its original goal of $1 million.
Missing the point: Unfortunately, not everyone has been supportive. During an interview on Tuesday, Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said, “I don't see racism at all in the NFL,” (he later apologized and admitted he was wrong...like, c’mon). And in an interview yesterday, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees said that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”
- Brees’ completely off-the-mark comment — in reference to former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 peaceful #TakeAKnee protest — was hit with tons of backlash, and rightfully so.
- While LeBron James called Brees out directly and Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers kept it subtle, the best response came from Brees’ teammate Malcolm Jenkins. Watch for yourself.