Michael Jordan joins sports icons worldwide to show solidarity for George Floyd

Moenchengladbach's French forward Marcus Thuram takes a knee in solidarity during a match in Moenchengladbach, Germany on May 31, 2020.
Moenchengladbach's French forward Marcus Thuram takes a knee in solidarity during a match in Moenchengladbach, Germany on May 31, 2020. © Martin Meissner, AFP

NBA legend Michael Jordan on Sunday joined other international sports stars to protest the “ingrained racism” demonstrated in the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck for several minutes.

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“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” Jordan said as protests over Floyd’s death on May 25 spawned violence and looting across the US. ”I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country.

”We have had enough,” added Jordan, who was famously reluctant to comment on social issues during his basketball playing career.

Floyd died after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

”We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability,” Jordan said.

Jordan joined a chorus of voices from the NBA, NFL and other US sports demanding change for black Americans, but the demands went far beyond America.

Protesters in London, Britain, May 31, 2020
Protesters in London, Britain, May 31, 2020 REUTERS - JOHN SIBLEY

European footballers seek 'Justice for George Floyd'

English footballer Jadon Sancho joined symbolic demonstrations of protests across German pitches on Sunday by lifting his jersey after scoring to reveal a T-shirt with the handwritten message “Justice for George Floyd” on the front.

Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho displays a "Justice for George Floyd" shirt on May 31, 2020.
Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho displays a "Justice for George Floyd" shirt on May 31, 2020. © Lars Baron POOL/AFP

Sancho was shown a yellow card for his gesture, which came after he scored the second goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn on Sunday.

Earlier, Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin. The Gladbach forward scored in the first half and then dropped his left knee to the ground and rested his right arm on his right thigh as he bowed his head in reflection. He spent five seconds in this position before getting up again to continue.

“No explanation needed,” Gladbach said on Twitter with a picture of Thuram kneeling.

It evoked memories of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the American national anthem before games to protest police brutality and racial inequality amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

The 22-year-old Thuram, who also scored Gladbach’s third goal, made no comment on his gesture after the game.

“He got to the point,” Gladbach coach Marco Rose said. “He made a sign against racism, one we all completely support of course. I believe that everyone fully supports it, that everyone has the same thoughts he does.”

Thuram is the son of French World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, an outspoken anti-racism campaigner.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

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