American Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie paid tribute to George Floyd on Saturday by wearing an armband during Bundesliga action with the words “Justice for George” written on it.
Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in police custody on Monday after being pinned to the ground beneath the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.
“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!!” McKennie tweeted after Schalke’s 1-0 loss to Werder Bremen. “We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard!”
Cellphone video of Floyd pinned to the ground by Chauvin while handcuffed circulated widely on social media in the wake of the incident and has sparked protests across the United States.
Athletes around the world have joined the many prominent voices speaking out about the latest incident of racial injustice in the U.S., including San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, NBA superstar LeBron James and French footballer Kylian Mbappe.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) May 30, 2020
In an appearance on Writers Bloc Friday afternoon, Kane called on more athletes and public figures to use their platforms to speak out about these issues.
“It would make a huge difference, first and foremost,” Kane told Stephen Brunt, Richard Deitsch and Jeff Blair. “And I want to say that it’s just not athletes — it’s people with voices, people with big voices. Public figures. Whether you’re an athlete, a celebrity, somebody that works in politics, whatever it may be — it’s people at the top.
“…When you have ethnicities other than the ones that are being affected step up and say something, that causes a real dialogue. It can cause real change. And it can cause people to really open up their eyes and come together, and I think that’s the biggest thing. And we don’t have nearly enough of that, clearly.”