TORONTO — Basketball great Michael Jordan voiced outrage on Sunday over the death of George Floyd, a black man shown on video gasping for breath as a white policeman knelt on his neck in Minneapolis, an incident that has triggered violent nationwide protests.
Jordan said his heart went out to the family of Floyd and others who have died through acts of racism.
Also having his voiced over the issue was six-time Formula One motor racing champion Lewis Hamilton, who criticized his sport for its silence on the killing.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” Jordan, a Basketball Hall-of-Famer and owner of the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration.
“I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
The comments from Jordan came as many US cities were bracing for another night of unrest after cleaning up streets strewn with broken glass and burned-out cars as curfews failed to quell confrontations between protesters and police.
Jordan, a six-time NBA champion who was at the heart of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty in the 1990s, called on people to show compassion and empathy and never turn their backs on senseless brutality.
“We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability,” said Jordan. “Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change.
“Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.”
Hamilton, meanwhile, criticized his sport for not speaking on the killing of Floyd.
Formula One’s first black world champion, Hamilton spends much of his time in America and spoke out on the issue in an Instagram story on Sunday.
“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” wrote the Mercedes driver. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of color there yet I stand alone,” he added.
In a second post, Hamilton added: “I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully. There can be no peace until our so-called leaders make change.”
Hamilton has spoken out before about the lack of diversity in motor racing. “There really is the most minimal diversity within this sport and I really somehow want to be a part of shape-shifting that with Formula One,” he said a year ago. — Reuters