Athletes and notable names from the world of sports are speaking up as protests continue following the death of George Floyd earlier this week in Minneapolis.
Jordan: “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry”
Chicago Bulls great and current Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan was one of the latest high-profile athletes to speak out on the death of George Floyd at the hands of police and racism in America.
"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone's pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of colour in our country. We have had enough," Jordan said in a statement on Sunday.
The 57-year-old went on to say that now is the time for people to come together and be part of the solution.
"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," Jordan said. "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.
"My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice."
Abdul-Jabbar writes op-ed for Los Angeles Times
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar penned an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on Sunday to defend the protesting happening in numerous cities across the United States and why the people involved have been pushed to the edge.
"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," wrote Abdul-Jabbar. "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."
Abdul-Jabbar continued, "what you should see when you see black protesters in the age of Trump and coronavirus is people pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe."
The 73-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, who won six NBA championships with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers over his Hall of Fame career, boycotted the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City due to racism in the United States
Ujiri Shares Powerful Message
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri wrote a column for the Globe and Mail on Sunday to share his thoughts following the death of George Floyd and the need for people to raise their voices.
"Ever since I first saw the video, I’ve been thinking about the cycle. A death like this happens, and we rage about it, and the headlines recede, and the world moves on, and then a few weeks later something else happens and we’re outraged again and then we move on, again. We have to stop that cycle," Ujiri wrote.
Ujiri also mentioned the incident in Game 6 of last year's NBA Finals in Oakland when he was stopped by a police officer while on his way to the court after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors to win their first NBA championship.
"I can’t write about this issue without acknowledging what happened to me last June. It’s been widely reported, but I’ll summarize it again. Our team had just won the NBA championship and I was rushing to get on the court to celebrate. I was stopped, physically stopped, by a police officer, and the confrontation turned nasty. There’s a lawsuit that’s still before the courts – he is suing me – so I can’t say too much," said Ujiri.
"But I will say this: If it was another team president heading for the court – a white team president – would he have been stopped by that officer? I’ve wondered that.
"I recognize what happened in Oakland last June is very different from what happened in Minneapolis last Monday. My own experience only cost me a moment; Mr. Floyd’s experience cost him his life."
The 49-year-old Ujiri is also the co-founder of Giants of Africa.
The Raptors organization released a statement on Saturday:
“As an organization and a community, we come from all over the world. We are diverse, we speak different languages, but our shared humanity unites us. When we see racism and violence committed against someone because of the colour of their skin, we should, and do, feel outrage. We cannot accept this. While we grieve for those we have lost, we know grieving is not enough. We must honour their memory by acknowledging these ills exist, confronting them, and coming together to create a better society. It is far past time.”
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry released a statement on Monday as well.
CFL Speaks Up
The CFL and commissioner Randy Ambrosie released statements via Twitter Sunday.
"Just as we celebrate diversity, we in the Canadian Football League condemn racism in all of its forms, silent and systemic or blatant and violent. In particular, no person should fear for his or her freedom, safety, or life because of the colour of his or her skin," the CFL's Tweet read.
Ambrosie released a separate statement via his personal Twitter account, acknowledging Canada has its issues with racism as well.
"As we watch events unfold in the US this weekend, the #CFL has issued a statement condemning racism," he said. "It’s also important to acknowledge that our country has its own problems with race and our league’s history is far from perfect. Even if it is marked by many firsts for black athletes and coaches. I cannot pretend, coming from a place of privilege, to understand what it feels like for those whose lives are marked by the racism they must face every day. But I can stand with them. And I always will."
Running back James Wilder Jr., who signed a one-year contract with the Montreal Alouettes in January, said he has been protesting and encouraged others to peacefully protest as well.
"Influencers and players I challenge you all to get out and lead a peaceful protest... Use our platform!!! The news reporters will follow us and it will show some kind of love and positivity we all need right now. Without us they’ll keep reporting only the bad stuff!!!
"All my white brothas and sisters I challenge y’all to peacefully protest with us. If y’all scared that’s ok I then challenge y’all to support us using your social media platform!!!
"I peacefully protested for 12hrs yesterday. My feet hurt my lower back is tight, my voice is gone Yet I’m getting dressed for another full day because it’s bigger than me. I know y’all getting tired peacful protestors stay strong brothas n sistas don’t let up!"
Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker and president of the Canadian Football League Players' Association Solomon Elimimian released a statement as well.
"A message I shared with our players yesterday. Empathy is the only way we will get through this. There is no place for racial injustice. I encourage our players to speak out and use their platform for positive change!" the tweet read.
Read the full statement below.
According to his Instagram story, Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks attended protests in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday and then came back Sunday morning to help clean up after seeing the damage done to the city.
NHL teams, players issue statements
Statement From The Toronto Maple Leafs pic.twitter.com/JQcCg4gAUg— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) June 1, 2020
WE all have a voice, use it. Help create an environment where WE can all be treated equally. No matter what your race, religion or belief you may have, you should not stay silent about social inequality. Please spread the word. #JusticeForAll https://t.co/dxfkUwn7E9— Anthony Duclair (@aduclair10) May 31, 2020
Haslem: There definitely has to be justice for George
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem speaks at a new conference in Miami on Sunday.
Kopitar: It is our responsibility to advocate for justice and equality
Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar says it's time "to be better and do better," after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"I know I'll never understand what it is like to be black in America," Kopitar said on Twitter. "What I do know is that it's time to be better and do better. It is our responsibility to advocate for justice and equality, and to condom racism and prejudice of all forms. We cannot stay silent. We must work towards a better future."
Hubbard Shows Support
Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard, who had a breakout season with the NCAA's Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2019, tweeted out a show of support for the protest.
Rivers: This is a human issue
Los Angeles Clippers Doc Rivers issued a statement Sunday talking about his own experiences with racism and encouraged others to help make change happen by voting in November in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
"We have allowed too many tragedies to pass in an. This isn't an African-American issue. This is a human issue," said Rivers.
Read the full statement below.
Bundesliga Pays Tribute
Players in Germany's top soccer league paid tribute to George Floyd after scoring goals on Sunday.
Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund revealed a "Justice for George Floyd" t-shirt underneath his jersey after scoring a goal in a rout of Paderborn.
Furthermore, Marcus Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach knelt after scoring against Union Berlin.
Carrick: We must see, acknowledge, listen to the struggles of minorities
Stroman: Racism is thriving in America
Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman also tweeted about the protests and racism in the United States on Sunday.
"Racism is thriving in America. That’s a fact. If you choose to turn a blind eye towards it...you’re part of the problem that will continue to destroy this nation. Wake up and look in the mirror!"
Virtue: We cannot be passive as people are being killed
Two-time Olympic gold medalist ice dancer Tessa Virtue was another prominent athlete to issue a statement on social media.
"Prejudice, discrimination, systemic racism, and pervasive inequality...none of it is ok. We cannot be passive as people are being killed. We must stand up for change, she said on Instagram. "I’ve been reflecting on the notion of privilege, and what it means to engage in uncomfortable conversations in order to stimulate personal growth and social change. Let’s have those conversations. Ultimately, we have to fight for what is right. I believe that #BlackLivesMatter."