George Floyd, a name that we’ve all come to know in recent days for the wrong reasons.
Those who knew him closely described him as a gentle giant, always willing to lend a helping hand in which he would ask for nothing in return.
The nation now knows Floyd as another tragic case in a long history of police brutality in the United States. A nightmare that keeps rerunning for black individuals who consistently speak out for change and it’s time for that, change.
According to Mappingpoliceviolence.org, there were 1,099 police-related deaths in 2019. Black people were 24% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.
99% of those killings by police from 2013-2019 have not resulted in officers being charged with a crime.
This issue isn’t new, as racism is embedded in our nation’s history, police-brutality related riots have been a common stance since the 1960s, yet in 2020 nothing has changed. Some may argue it’s getting worse, but those who are black know that racism has always been this troubling in our nation, it’s just become easier to document with advances in technology.
George Floyd’s public death shouldn’t just be added to a long list of unarmed black individuals who lost their lives in police custody, but it should be a springboard to bring up the discussion on how to create change to promote checks and balances in law enforcement that prohibits and makes accountable racists acts. Major League Baseball players have been outspoken including the Mets own, Marcus Stroman.
Stroman has been retweeting many twitter posts discussing the incident and speeches calling out for change and also wrote himself:
“Racism is ingrained in our society/culture and the world seems incapable of change. To change the world we must begin with ourselves. Truly look in the mirror and identify if you’re part of the problem or the solution. Your true colors will always be revealed.”
Powerful words from a prominent black athlete in the sport. Although Stroman’s words are so powerful, especially considering only 6.7% of major leaguers are African American, it’s time for White MLB players who make up over 60% of the league to voice their support to the black community in the injustices they are facing. Remaining silent or passive is a major part of the problem that leads to a common thread of nothing happening.
Sean Doolittle, a relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals, recently supported the cause by releasing this statement:
“Racism is America’s original sin. It was here before we even forged a nation, and has been passed down from generation to generation. And we still struggle to acknowledge that it even exists, much less atone for it, The generational trauma of racism and violence is killing black men and women before our eyes, We are told it is done in the name of, law and order, but there is nothing lawful nor orderly about these murders. My heart is heavy knowing that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, and too many others should still be alive. We must not look away from racism and violence. We must never condone racism or extrajudicial violence in the name of law and order. We must take action and call it out for what it is. We must recognize our shared humanity and atone for our Original Sin or else we will continue to curse future generations with it. RIP George Floyd.”
As a professional athlete, you are presented with a platform that carries influence, especially to younger generations. Black athletes have been prominent voices in “Black Lives Matter” movements in full force.
It’s about time we see white athletes join Sean Doolittle and recognize their teammates, their community, their nation for a common cause of seeing humanity and civility brought to black communities where law enforcement shouldn’t be seen as an evil, as it’s currently being construed today and for good reason.
Now is the time to use your platform and exemplify the role-model position you’re in.
Rest In Peace, George Floyd.
Featured Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images