Thank God, justice has been served, sports icons laud George Floyd verdict

Thank God, justice has been served, sports icons laud George Floyd verdict

The sports world has welcomed the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial, while cautioning that there is still work to do addressing systemic racism in the United States. Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd, who was black, after kneeling on the 46-year-old’s neck for more than nine minutes in May last year.

“ACCOUNTABILITY,” tweeted Basketball great LeBron James, who has been a prominent voice on social justice over the last few years. Magic Johnson also expressed his relief at the verdict after other high-profile cases in which police officers have not been convicted or charged after killing black Americans. “Thank God…guilty! Justice has been served!!” wrote the NBA hall of famer.

However, others pointed out that the verdict does not change the many problems surrounding policing and race in the United States.

“Will it change anything? There was a just verdict. But will it have enough larger implications?” New Orleans Pelicans coach Van Gundy said. “Will it force us or at least motivate us to explore better policing and solving the immense problems of racial justice? Will it do any of that? Will it move forward on any of that? Or is this just an isolated verdict on one where we had clear video evidence.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves play in the same city where Floyd was murdered and their star player, Karl-Anthony Towns, said he had been worried about the outcome of the trial before Tuesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Towns said. “I had sweated so much I had to take a shower because I didn’t know how it was going to go. My feelings towards it was, we’ve seen moments like this so much that go the opposite way, that even with how quick the verdict came in, you still have no idea where it’s going to go.

“I was worried. I was worried for our community. I was worried for if justice was going to be served. I was worried about all the family our team has, every player, and wondering if their safety was going to be guaranteed tonight and how they would feel. On our team, we’ve got guys who have kids, who are kids of color, wondering if we’re going to show them if the word accountability actually lives in the world we live in today.”

The Timberwolves dedicated their victory over the Kings to Floyd’s family and many athletes brought attention to the fact that the verdict did not erase the tragedy of his death.

“I was going to make a celebratory tweet but then I was hit with sadness because we are celebrating something that is clear as day,” wrote tennis world No 2 Naomi Osaka on Twitter. “The fact that so many injustices occurred to make us hold our breath toward this outcome is really telling.”

Towns shared similar sentiments. “It’s bittersweet because it cost a life to see a moment like this,” he said. “It’s one of those moments you worry that if reform’s not done, we’ll be having the same situation again, and that’s the most unfortunate, disheartening thing.”

F1 champion Sir Lewis Hamilton says the conviction of Chauvin “marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice”.

“This is the first time that a white officer has been convicted for killing a black man in Minnesota,” Hamilton posted on Instagram.

“Convicting him of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice.

“Justice for George. This is monumental, George’s death is not in vain.

“We can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the right decision has been met, and that justice has been served.

“Black voices have been heard and action is happening. When we stand together, we can make a difference.

“But this is just one step on the path towards a more equal society. The fight isn’t over, and there is more to be done, but we can consider today a glimmer of hope.”

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton, 36, continues to kneel before races in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and has set up a joint charitable foundation with Mercedes to promote diversity.

Former tennis world number one and 12-time women’s Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King tweeted: “The time to collectively examine the treatment of black people, in particular black boys/men, by some law enforcement is long overdue.

“The path to healing must begin.”

The NBA said it will “redouble our efforts to advocate for meaningful change in the areas of criminal justice and policing”.

“Today showed to me the power of community,” said former Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers star Dwyane Wade.

“If there was any win, you can’t celebrate this, to me it was a win for accountability. We have got more work to do, we all know that.”

Tyronn Lue, head coach of the LA Clippers, added: “It’s still a sad day. It’s great to see someone being held accountable for their actions. It doesn’t bring George Floyd back.”

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash commented: “I just hope that this is the type of statement by our justice system that gives hope and precedence for these type of verdicts to be the norm.”


Source: Sports – Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics

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