Sixers’ Ben Simmons sports ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt, calls for solidarity against blatant racism
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has spoken out about the social injustice recently suffered by George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers. Floyd was killed under the custody of the cops, and the incident was all caught on video. One of Floyd’s final words were, “I Can’t Breathe,” which has now become a slogan in the fight against racial discrimination.
Simmons has shown his full support for Floyd and his family, donning a plain black tee spelling out Floyd’s infamous last words The two-time All-Star shared a photo of himself wearing the shirt via his Instagram account and accompanied it with a very powerful message in the caption.
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Witnessing the news the past few weeks & hearing the outcry has given me a lot to think about. It is time for everyone, from all walks of life, to get comfortable with voicing & calling out the uncomfortable subject of Blatant Racism that exists heavily within our society. We are ALL accountable & we shouldn’t have to revisit tragedies like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery time & time again. 6 years ago I put on this tee shirt to show solidarity & we’re still fighting. Enough is enough.
To provide some context on Ben Simmons’ message above, we need to go turn the clock back by six years, to an incident that is eerily similar to that of George Floyd’s death. On July 17, 2014, a New York City man named Eric Garner also died at the hands of the police. He was subdued and placed on a chokehold by one of the officers because he was resisting arrest. The incident was likewise caught on camera and Garner, who also died as a result of the excessive force used by the cops, uttered the exact same words as Floyd did earlier this week: “I can’t breathe.”
For Simmons, he is calling out everyone here to stand up and be counted. According to the Australian national, we can no longer afford to fall silent to the blatant discrimination and police brutality that continues to plague the nation. The fact that almost the exact same disgusting incident repeated itself six years later just goes to show how much progress — or lack thereof — there has been in the fight against racism.