Athletes including LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton and Colin Kaepernick have expressed their anger and grief over the death of George Floyd, the African American man who died after being pinned to the ground by police on Monday.
Floyd’s death sparked outrage across America after video of his death emerged. In the video a white police officer kneels on Floyd’s neck as the 46-year-old says he is unable to breathe, before he eventually stops moving.
LeBron James, who has spoken out against police brutality in the past, compared the police officer’s stance to Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest in 2016, during which he knelt during the national anthem to highlight racial injustice in the US.
James posted a photo of the police officer kneeling on Floyd next to one of Kaepernick in a similar position before an NFL game. “This … … Is Why,” James wrote in a post to his 65m Instagram followers. “Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? #StayWoke”. Kaepernick also shared a version of James’s photo on Instagram, as did Formula One world champion Hamilton.
The Los Angeles Lakers star also posted an Instagram story on Tuesday that featured a photo of Floyd and the caption: “We’re hunted.”
The former NBA forward Stephen Jackson described Floyd as his “twin” in an Instagram post. “Twin,” wrote Jackson. “I promise I won’t let this BS ride. Already talked to [civil rights activist] @shaunking. Anybody from Houston/Cuney Homes u know this was my brother. Can’t let this ride. All hands on deck. Rest Easy Twin”.
NBA star Donovan Mitchell and NFL star Odell Beckham both described Floyd’s death as “sickening” on Twitter. Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Lawrence asked on Twitter: “HOW CAN WE FEEL SAFE WHEN THOSE MEANT TO PROTECT US ARE KILLIN’ US?!!!!”
Four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been fired and the FBI has started an investigation. Floyd’s sister, Bridget, said on Wednesday that the officers “should be in jail for murder”. She added: “Me and my family are taking this very, very hard. It’s very heartbreaking, it’s very disturbing.”