America’s superstars aren’t the only athletes condemning the deaths of blacks-while-breathing while in police custody and praising hundreds of thousands of protesters, who’ve spent more than two weeks demanding change to policies that foster a black-lives-don’t-matter message. Though their names don’t possess wattage comparable to that of Lebron, Tiger, Michael and Patrick, tennis’ rising young stars, World No. 81 Francis Tiafoe, 22, No. 64 Cori (Coco) Gauff, 16, No. 10 Naomi Osaka, 22, Japan and No. 6 Bianca Andreescu, 19, Canada, have added their voices to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“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. — Tiger Woods
Tiafoe recently posted a video on social media which shows about 20 black pros and former pros, executing a “racquets down, hands up,” routine. Serena Williams, Sloane Stevens, former pro MaliVai Washington and former pro and USTA president Katrina Adams were among the participants. “I was happy when everyone agreed to do it,” said Tiafoe, the only African American male ranked in the men’s tour top 100. “If more people who have a platform speak out, then I think change can happen and you can be optimistic.” He says the shortage of male blacks on tour makes him feel like an outsider. He believes most fans support him, but “I definitely feel that not everybody wants to see me (succeed). Ultimately, they don’t want us in power.”
The senseless murders that we have witnessed cannot continue in our country. Let’s be the world where my little sister, … even my future kids, will grow up never having to experience these tragedies and instead, love each other unconditionally. — Patrick Mahomes.
By joining protesters in Pompey Beach, FL and later paying tribute to the memory of George Floyd in a speech in Delray Beach, Coco Gauff demonstrated the maturity and savvy of a much older soul, just as she does with a racquet in her hand. “We must have the tough conversations with friends,” she said. “I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement. … no matter how big or how small your platform is, you need to use your voice. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, ‘The silence of the good people is worse than the brutality of the bad people.’
“It’s sad that I’m here protesting the same thing that my grandmother protested 50-plus years ago. … we (must) understand that this has been going on for years. This is not just about George Floyd … I was eight years old when Trayvon Martin was killed, so why am I here at 16 still demanding change? … I promise to always use my platform to spread vital information.”
In response to Gauff’s speech, tennis great Billie Jean King said, “Thank you Coco Gauff for using your platform to speak to both the young and the not-so-young about injustice. We stand with you and the entire black community.”
No one should be excused from acts of racial hatred. Please do not allow anyone to demonize those who are standing up against these acts. — Derek Jeter
The 2019 U.S. Open champion Andreescu says society needs to address systemic racism “immediately.” Andreescu wrote on Twitter: “Racism has no place in society. It’s heartbreaking to see the many innocent lives lost due to the colour of their skin. I don’t understand the society we’re living in that doesn’t value ALL human life. Nelson Mandela once said ‘People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite.” Let this be a pillar for LOVE.
“We have been beaten down (as African Americans) for so many years. 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.” — Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand, announcing that they will donate $100 million over the next 10 years to help promote racial equality and social justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death and worldwide protest against inequality. (Charlotte Observer)
The 2018 U.S. Open champion Osaka posted the video of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers on her twitter feed and expressed support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “George Floyd’s murder and the situation generally in America has had a big impact on me,” she said. “I’m vocal because I believe in the movement and want to try to use my platform to facilitate change,” Osaka said via email. “I hate when random people say athletes shouldn’t get involved with politics and just entertain.”
Accused by one of her twitter followers of being racist toward white people, Osaka said, “My condolences to you. I know it must be hard to be illiterate … Being silent is never the answer. Everyone should have a voice in the matter and use it. That some people have said we as athletes should stick to sports is really insulting. Being silent is never the answer. Everyone should have a voice in the matter and use it.”
She says the climate has changed considerably since quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem before a 2016 NFL game and paid for his protest by being ostracized by the league. “It took a pandemic, an economic crisis and a torturous murder on camera, all at the same time, for people to really hear him,” she said. “It shouldn’t have been that way. If the NFL wants to show that they really care the first thing they should do is take a knee together and give Colin his job back.
“Why Doesn’t America Love US!!!!!???? TOO. — Lebron James
Doug, I’m so glad you’re back reminding us of what’s important in life and sports, with a focus on tennis. Keep it up. We need you.
Thank you, Uncle Doug, for shining a light on news and events that are both relative and thought provoking. You’re just awesome at what you do!!