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From Osaka to LeBron, Shiffrin to Joshua: The champions making their voices heard

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A host of sports stars have used their platforms to speak out against facism

Image credit: Eurosport

ByMichael Hincks
11/06/2020 at 07:52 | Updated 11/06/2020 at 08:37

The tragic death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, has brought the issue of racism in society back to the fore.

Protests have taken place across the world, and many sporting greats have used their platform to condemn discrimination and call for change.

Naomi Osaka

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"I’m vocal because I believe in the movement and want to try to use my platform to facilitate change," Osaka told Reuters via email.

George Floyd’s murder and the situation generally in America has had a big impact on me. Being silent is never the answer. Everyone should have a voice in the matter and use it.

Michael Jordan

"We have been beaten down [as African Americans] for so many years," Jordan told the Charlotte Observer.

"It sucks your soul. You can't accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We've got to be better as a society regarding race.

Face up to your demons. Extend a hand. Understand the inequalities. Sure, it's about bargaining for better police, but it's more. We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles.

Mikaela Shiffrin

Maybe it’s not my problem...I’m dealing with so many things right now. Too many things. I can’t bear any more burden. It’s not directly affecting me, so it won’t matter if I don’t stand up, right now...WRONG. Go ahead, tell me I’m an athlete, and that I should stay in my lane...

LeBron James

Back in 2017, James said: "Racism will always be part of the world, part of America. Hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day.

No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how many people admire you, being black in America is tough. We have a long way to go … until we feel equal.

Anthony Joshua

"The virus has been declared a pandemic," Joshua said. "This is out of control. And I'm not talking about Covid-19. The virus I'm talking about is called racism."

We can no longer sit back and remain silent on these senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being - based on what? Only their skin colour. We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations.

Serena Williams

I've always been proud to be who I am, to be black, and I just feel like I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't be as strong as I am, I wouldn't have been able to be as amazing I have been so far in my career, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't black. I've always leaned into that, I get that from my parents. They taught me the power of loving myself and it is, now more than ever, a great time to love yourself.

Tiger Woods

My heart goes out to George Floyd, his loved ones and all of us who are hurting right now. I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement. They train so diligently to understand how, when and where to use force. This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line. I remember the LA riots and learned that education is the best path forward. We can make our points without burning the very neighbourhoods that we live in. I hope that through constructive, honest conversations we can build a safer, unified society.

Alex Morgan

Simone Biles

Lewis Hamilton

America is not the only place where racism lives and we continue to fail as humans when we cannot stand up for what is right. Please do not sit in silence, no matter the colour of your skin. Black Lives Matter.

Billie Jean King

Alex Ovechkin

Kylian Mbappe

Coco Gauff

Steve Kerr

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