US civil society has always been a heterogeneous substance with many internal contradictions between various segments of the population: a deep abyss between rich and poor, turbulence between law enforcement officials and ordinary people. However, the situation escalated to the limit when citizens felt injustice towards the most vulnerable people – African Americans. The killing of George Floyd by police officers on May 25 in Minneapolis instantly rocked the country and sparked massive protests. The weekly Football tells how the sports community reacted to the high-profile incident.
How did it all start?
The last Monday of spring in the largest city in Minnesota did not bode well for anything extraordinary. A typical weekday, sunny weather, offices are working on a staffing table, albeit with restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Only one place is restless. This is a small grocery store in Powderhorn, a suburb of Minneapolis.
The arrived police brigade immediately arrived at a call from one of the sellers. According to him, the man tried to pay with a fake twenty-dollar check and made an attempt to escape from the crime scene.
It was 46-year-old African American George Floyd. The four law enforcement officials had not yet guessed what kind of public storm the public would raise across the country in a matter of hours.
Despite the impressive size, one of the four officers still managed to twist the intruder and knock him to the ground near a parked black-and-white service jeep. Two others were holding George, and the third calmly watched what was happening.
The next eight minutes will split the American public into “before” and “after”. Floyd will begin to faint and plead with white cop Derek Chauvin to lift the knee that pinned George’s neck.
“I can not breathe”. The 46-year-old victim will repeat this phrase more than once before the officers realize that the irreparable has happened. Eyewitnesses filmed episodes where the groans and sobs of an adult black man are clearly audible, and remained without any reaction.
The very next day, police officers Thomas Lane, Alexander Kuang, Tu Tao and Derek Chauvin himself will be fired. And on May 29, the Minnesota police will arrest the main culprit of the tragedy and formally charge him with murder.
Mass protests and “Down with Trump!”
It is noteworthy that the resonant incident took place on Memorial Day, a national date traditionally celebrated in the United States in honor of American soldiers who died in wars and armed conflicts around the world.
It is paradoxical, however, that in America repeated casualties among the civilian population, who are forced to reckon with the privileged position of the US police, especially in relation to the black population, are often bypassed.
However, in the case of Floyd, the public reaction was not long in coming. Within a week, most states were engulfed in a wave of protests and riots on city streets. The epicenter was the southern regions of the country, where racial segregation was in vogue 60 years ago.
From New York to San Diego, people have come out to demand an end to police brutality and respect the rights of various minorities. And in some states, the overwhelming majority of the protesters were from the wealthy white middle class.
American citizens expressed their distrust of the current president’s policy aimed, in their opinion, at splitting civil society. Some residents marched with a “Down with Trump!” Poster.
The police did not stand aside. In the days after Floyd’s death, they detained over 10,000 people across the country. Residents of cities often met with a tough rebuff from law enforcement agencies in close-knit ranks, holding hands in a sign of general solidarity.
From the NBA to the Bundesliga
Professional athletes around the world did not stand aside either. A few days after the George Floyd incident, the hashtags #JusticeForGeorge and #BlackLivesMatter began to gain popularity on Twitter.
The immediate reaction has brought together sports from the American Basketball Association to football in Europe, represented by the German Bundesliga clubs.
The players’ demands were reduced to the observance of the principles of fairness. They called to prevent the spread of any kind of discrimination in modern society.
In the UK, the footballer was constantly faced with stereotypical attitudes regarding black people. Guards of shops, security guards of nightclubs disapprovingly saw Gray off on grocery trips or inspected him at face control.
Andry was also supported in Germany, where the local championship has recently resumed. Borussia Dortmund striker Jadon Sancho marked one of the team’s goals by showing a yellow jersey with the words “Justice For George” in support of the murdered Floyd.
The action was also supported by the current winners of the Champions League – Liverpool footballers. In solidarity with the deceased American, the players honored his memory by kneeling down.
The young French talent PSG, Killian Mbappé, also responded to the call for justice, leaving the post “Justice for George” on Twitter.
However, real passions arose in Floyd’s homeland. Famous athletes from the National Basketball Association have come to open threats against Donald Trump.
For example, the 2003 champion in San Antonio, Stephen Jackson, urged the president “not to speak on behalf of our brother.”
He did not stop there and went even further. “Know that 18 countries and 50 states that have protested will get you out of the White House,” added the 42-year-old black basketball player.
Is it just discrimination?
The main task of world history is to warn people against repeating their own mistakes. The tragic death of George Floyd is not about America at all. It covers a much larger area of modern civilization: from England to Russia, from the African continent to Asian countries.
In the 21st century, millions of people are persecuted in relation to their religions (the Muslim Uighur community in China), restricted in their rights (the ban on the adoption of Russian children by American citizens), infringed on harassment (the Harvey Weinstein case, accusations against Cristiano Ronaldo) …
A simplified, “black and white” view of various social problems throws humanity back decades and becomes a serious obstacle to the development of civil society.
On June 5, in the United States, where a similar episode with another African American, Eric Garner, took place six years earlier, a memorial service for George Floyd was held, which was broadcast live on all federal channels.
A minute of silence lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds – exactly how much time, according to the investigation, policeman Derek Shovin kept his knee on the neck of the deceased.
The silence of the assembly hall at North Central Minneapolis University was pierced by the words of Alfred Sharpton, one of America’s most prominent black rights activists.
“Are you all talking about making America great? Great for whom and when? We will make America great for everyone! “