George Floyd, a 46-year old African American man, died Monday after a police officer kept his knee on his neck for several minutes while Floyd cried out that he couldn't breathe.
The death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, has ignited protests in Minneapolis and other US cities. What happened to Floyd has immensely impacted many, including professional athletes like Seattle Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier.
The Seahawks 2019 first-round pick said he’s been watching the violent protests take place in Minnesota, and while he is disturbed by the senseless acts on the black community, Collier says he hopes people will start listening.
It’s upsetting just to see what those people are going through, the way that that’s what they have to resort to just to be heard, just to be seen. Just at what point does people have to continue to be killed just for somebody to understand what being black is like. That’s what we go through every day, just the fear that being pulled over you don’t know what’s gonna happen, just like no one wants to live with that. Just the rioting to the point of what do we have to do for you to hear us? It’s just a sad thing. I wish it was handled better.
I feel like this should open the doors to help people understand what’s going on in this world, how people of color are being oppressed.
Collier is not alone in sharing his thoughts.
His teammate, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett, shared an eloquent poem on Twitter speaking out on racial injustice and police brutality.
The powerful piece from Lockett also shed light on athletes kneeling during the national anthem in protest of social justice issues and police brutality toward African Americans.
But if we take a knee. That’s when they light their torches. And when we start to speak. That’s when we lose our endorsements. -- Tyler Lockett
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to publicly and peacefully kneel to raise awareness about the major systemic problem.
Many other NFL athletes have protested over the years, including Duane Brown, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson, who remained in the Seahawks locker room while the national anthem played before games last year.
Brown doesn't believe he's seen any progress since Kaepernick began kneeling in 2016.
“No, not really," Brown told reporters earlier this week. "If you know the details of what happened (in Minneapolis), it’s a tragic situation. ...It’s just an awful situation—that could have been prevented.
“I feel like, someone called the cops on him for, potentially, writing a bad check. And he ended up dying, on camera, unarmed and in handcuffs. So, I mean, it seems like this continues to happen, every year, at some point. I don’t know when it will change.”
Be sure to check out the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and legendary running back Curt Warner.