"This is not a farewell, it is a celebration and a request for justice," they pray before the coffin of George Floyd who was assassinated on May 25 in Minneapolis, state of Minnesota, during the brutal arrest in which a white police officer killed him with suffocation when he pressed his knee to his neck . After weeks of protests, demonstrations and tributes, thousands of people said goodbye to Floyd's remains, including songs from Gospel, Blues and Hip Hop. Many dressed in T-shirts with the inscription "I Can't Breathe", the phrase that the victim repeated as the policeman drowned him until the final sigh.
As much as some try to believe that these are isolated actions, the social struggles continue and the repugnant racist acts continue to plague our existence . Although sport is incapable of preventing it, at least acts as a sounding board for a claim that makes itself feel stronger and stronger . Shocked by the death of a 46-year-old man who knew how to play basketball and dabble in American football in his youth, many world sports figures spoke out against segregationism . Some even stood in front of the demonstrations and were at the funeral held at the "The Fountain of Praise" church in Houston.
Beyond a few exceptions, sport has laid the groundwork for a claim for global justice . Colin Kaepernick's knee on the floor became the universal symbol of the protest . The image of the American player dates from 2016 and was a way of protesting in the middle of the American anthem, but the striking fact is that after that claim Kaepernick was left without a team. The speech of Muhammad Ali on television during his best sporting and combative years became one of the most viralized videos in recent days. As well as the remembered claims of Arthur Ashe the only African-American man to achieve the Wimbledon trophy (1975); a strong militant for the civil rights of blacks and who at the time faced Apartheid in South Africa.
Floyd's murder sparked protests in the United States. But the world also focused on the treatment of African Americans and other minorities by the police and justice systems . In this context, many sports personalities decided to embrace in memory of the "sensible giant" as Stephen Jakcson a former NBA player and teammate, called him. basketball in the childhood of Houston. "Don't speak on my brother's behalf," Jackson told Donald Trump President of the United States. Kareem Abdul Jabbar went on to say that this shows "that the season for hunting blacks has begun." They are not the only ones who felt like Floyd. LeBron James Michael Jordan Serena Williams and Floyd Mayweather among others, joined the claims and even paid for the funeral costs.
Although some news went unnoticed, a few days ago there was a fact that was far from common sense. The German Basketball Bundesliga attempted to ban Floyd's crime protests . "Basically, political statements in the league are not allowed, either verbally or non-verbally. For us, as in soccer, the following applies: we play a sport and there are no political statements in either direction," explained the entity on his official Twitter. The reaction of the players was immediate and most of them assured that they will pay "every fine" imposed on them . In the NFL its highest official, Roger Goodell acknowledged his inaction in the face of the problem of black players and apologized for “not having listened” his demands. FIFA FIFA was adamant: asked its members for no sanctions for players who express themselves with claims for the murder of Floyd .
Throughout its history, sport has taken a long time to overcome racial barriers . It is true that the years have led the activity to show significant advances, but it is also true that the structural differences, the Nazi flags and the xenophobic songs still say present in some sporting events. Intolerances persist and it may be possible to use the charisma of this or that athlete to try to stop them. Formula 1 champion, Englishman Lewis Hamilton asked governments around the world to "remove" the statues of "racists" who "made money" by selling slaves after a monument in Bristol was knocked down last Sunday. In the German Bundesliga Marcus Thuram scored a goal, put his left knee on the pitch and imitated Kaepernick's legendary gesture of protest. And a few days ago, the 29 members of the Liverpool professional squad felt the need to kneel in the middle of the Anfield playing field (so did the footballers of Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin).
Floyd's intimacy will feel that time stands still, while the rest of the world will continue on its dizzy walk . However, there is part of that world that embraces the cause of burying racism and intolerance . More and more people feel George Floyd, that "sensitive giant" who loved basketball and football and who is remembered with honor by athletes around the world.