If you think there should be no politics or discussions of race and racism in sports, you should go ahead and stop reading now.
Over the last few days, people across the United States have taken to the streets to protest a police officer killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd is just one of the many people of color have been killed by excessive and unnecessary force. In the US, and across the world, this is not an aberration, it is systemic.
These protests have all begun peacefully, with people yet again trying to be heard as they ask for the police to stop extrajudicial killings of Black people. In response, police have employed jackboot tactics across the country, often without provocation, causing many of the situations to turn violent. It seems there are more than just a few bad apples. Rather than shying away from these protests, and potentially risking their careers, many professional athletes have joined in on the front lines.
As we’ve seen time and time again, racism is alive and well in professional sports. These players, glorified for their physical attributes, are the subject of vitriol laced with racism just for playing on an opposing team. Players have been ostracized for daring to take a knee in silent protest. Despite that, many professional athletes have still been brave enough to speak with their actions these last few days. While he couldn’t be there in person, Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster used his platform as a professional athlete to make a statement on twitter.
This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up. Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Lo3pvJlTQJ— Rhian Brewster (@RhianBrewster9) May 31, 2020
The full statement is as follows:
This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up. Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard
yet the pain continues... We’ve all been shown films like Roots, we’ve all seen films like Boyz in the hood where this reality is covered and showcased. Yet we are still living these movies in real life. In 2020, today.
This goes beyond just #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, we need justice for us as Human beings. We don’t want special privilege. A level playing field is all we have been crying for, forever. Hear us. #BlackLivesMatter
As a young player trying to make his name, it would be easy for Brewster to stay silent, to not rock the boat and potentially jeopardize his career. But, like his Liverpool teammate Georginio Wijnaldum earlier this season, he felt compelled to speak out about his frustrations of both the direct abuse as well as the institutional racism they are subjected to.
I’m glad Rhian, as a young black man, feels strong enough to speak. As a white guy with very little standing, I’m just hoping to use my voice and platform here to amplify Rhian. I’m proud to know people who are taking to the streets here in the US. For any from our community participating in the protests, please stay safe. For those wanting to help, make sure you lift the voices that need to be heard. If you’re in a situation financially where you can make donations, check out the tweet below for links to bail funds that will be needed for the mass incarcerations taking place.
Thread of bail funds across the country— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) May 31, 2020
New York: https://t.co/KC7LJL9wkX