LeBron James reacts to George Floyd’s death at the hands of police brutality
Four Minneapolis Police Department officers were fired from their jobs on Tuesday, the department announced, following footage released of their involvement in the death of African-American man George Floyd. Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James, viewing the controversy and latest episode of police brutality in the United States, shared the news and his reaction on social media late Tuesday afternoon.
“Do you understand NOW!!??!!??”, James, 35, intoned on Instagram while sharing a photo split in half between the action of one officer placing his lower leg on Mr. Floyd’s neck and another photo of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
James, an influential and outspoken voice as a popular athlete amplifying his social-justice views on social media, added “Stay woke” in hashtag form.
George Floyd, who was heard in a viral video saying he cannot breathe, was arrested by the Minneapolis officers over an alleged forgery. James’ echoing of Colin Kaepernick, who spent the 2017 NFL season kneeling during the pre-game “Star-Spangled Banner” performance, drew a direct line between the free agent quarterback’s original meaning behind his protest and the contemporary issue of brutalizing people of color in the U.S. face today.
Earlier in may, the Lakers star also became an outspoken mourner for Ahmaud Arbery, a slain African-American man in Georgia whose videotaped murder went viral much like Floyd’s brush with the Minneapolis Police Department. Unlike Floyd, however, Arbery was caught on tape murdered by civilians, not officers of the law. In part of James’ support and widespread outrage, the men involved in Arbery’s murder were arrested and arraigned.