With the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and further acts of police brutality, athletes have started to play a bigger role in spreading awareness of the injustice. Although this is not the first time athletes have spoken up, it seems this is the first time many are being heard.
In the NFL’s case, they’ve done a complete 180 as compared to their years with Colin Kapernick. The NFL is now apologizing for not listening to players like Kapernick early on.
“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter,” they said via Twitter.
In 2016, the Minnesota Lynx WNBA team posted a picture wearing a t-shirt with a written message: “Change Starts With Us” and in smaller font “Justice & Accountability.” The back of the shirt read Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two Black lives that were lost due to police brutality. Maya Moore also gave a statement accompanying the post, saying, “This is a human issue and we need to speak up for change, together.”
Back in 2012, Lebron James and a string of other Miami Heat players wore hoodies in a picture as a display for Trayvon Martin. This year, he posted many powerful messages and information on his Instagram as more people are starting to take notice.
Brandi Williams, a guard for the Ragin’ Cajuns Women’s Basketball team, gave her thoughts on the situation. Williams was upset after news of George Floyd’s murder was released.
“When I heard about what happened to George Floyd I was devastated. It doesn’t make sense that we have to keep fighting a battle between racism; it’s 2020!” Williams said.
Williams went on to say she believes this movement is not just a trend. “I think what happened to George Floyd is definitely a lasting movement. Now that everyone is standing together and fighting as one including all races it’s making a bigger difference,” Williams said.
Williams also said there is a way that people can make an impact.
“People should use their voices more, especially the younger generation by being more involved. It could be in your community, school, jobs, etc,” she said.
She also gave her own personal story via a written statement about the personal racial prejudice she experienced in her lifetime.
“Growing up I stayed in a black community, but it wasn’t until I moved into a more diverse community. Yes, we had whites who didn’t like us at all and would always call the cops on us for no reason or even stick the finger at us when we would walk the street. Now with all the stuff that’s going on, you see people’s true colors. As a black woman, I am more aware of my surroundings than a white woman. When I go run in the mornings I always have to watch my back or make sure I don’t run in certain parts of the neighborhoods where I don’t feel comfortable running. All lives aren’t gonna matter until black lives matter too,” Williams wrote in a written statement to The Vermilion.