A memorial site, seen Monday, near where George Floyd died May 25 in Minneapolis. (Getty Images)

Venues, teams, players and others in the live sports and entertainment industry have taken to social media and elsewhere in recent days to express outrage over the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis.

A bystander captured video of an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he lost consciousness. Outrage over the death has led to mass protests, some of which have turned violent and led to arson, vandalism and looting, in cities across the U.S.

Josh Okogie, who plays for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, expressed solidarity with protesters in a video statement posted on the team’s Instagram account.

“I think it’s important for me to be here today because, you know, George Floyd is me. That could have been anybody; that could have been me. And it’s actually crazy. I was in Georgia when Ahmaud Arbery died, you know, just going on a routine run,” he said. “Then I come here on Sunday and (on) Monday, George Floyd dies. I ask myself, it’s just a matter of time until … something like that comes in my front door. So I feel like I have to be here just to represent the masses and do what I can to help.”

Iconic Minneapolis club First Avenue posted a message on Instagram calling for volunteers and donations to help heal and rebuild the community.

“Twin Cities we know and love is SHOWING UP today with massive community clean-up effort, food and supply donations, and continued rallies for Justice for George Floyd. If you can’t make it to clean or donate supplies, please make a donation.” The venue then listed local organizations accepting donations.

 

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🖤 #justiceforgeorgefloyd

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Volunteers turned out to clean up after vandals damaged businesses and government buildings in Nashville, including Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, which has graffiti scrawled on its exterior.

“Our building serves as a place of healing and unifying our community and that’s needed once again,” a statement posted on the venue’s Instagram account read. It went on to acknowledge that “extreme racism” elicits “strong emotions in every community,” while going on to state: “We all need, expect and demand equality and justice for all.”

“Everyone has a role to play in bringing about needed changes and we look forward to joining conversations to affect positive change,” the statement concluded.

 

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💛

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Live Nation posted on its Instagram account: “We must take action.”  The statement, which was also featured on Chairman and CEO Michael Rapino’s feed as well as those of other Live Nation subsidiaries, noted that “there are great injustices impacting our brothers and sisters and we are striving to be part of the solution. We need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture” and that “today Live Nation will show its support by donating to the Equal Justice Initiative. And tomorrow and every day that follows we will continue to stand with the black community.”

 

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The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, whose home venue is Target Center, expressed grief over Floyd’s death and sympathy for his family, adding: “We will work tirelessly to use our voices to influence change, encourage healing and promote thoughtful action as we move forward.”

 

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“These times call for our community to come together and not be divisive,” read a statement from the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, which plays at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of George Floyd.”

 

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The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings expressed similar sentiments over a death that occurred “just blocks from our stadium.”

“Everyone in our community deserves the right to feel protected and safe,” the team stated. “Our thoughts are with the George Floyd family and all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy.”

 

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Hornets owner Michael Jordan, posted to the team’s Instagram: “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.

“I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.

“My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice.”

 

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered “deepest condolences” to the families of Floyd as well as Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, and Arbery, who was fatally shot in Georgia by a man purportedly trying to make a citizen’s arrest.

“As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league,” Goodell stated. “These tragedies inform the NFL’s commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs, and partners.”

 

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A statement issued by the Brooklyn Nets, Long Island Nets, New York Liberty and Barclay Center, and signed by Joe and Clara Tsai, Ollie Weisberg, Sean Marks, Alton Byrd, Keia Clarke and Jonathan Kolb, mourned “the senseless and devastating loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who lost their lives because of racial bias. Today we stand up and speak against all forms of racism — overt or subconscious — especially against the Black community. We want to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

 

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Statement from the Brooklyn Nets, Long Island Nets, New York Liberty, and Barclays Center.

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The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., issued a brief statement in all caps that read, simply:

“WE SEE YOU.

“WE HEAR YOU.

“WE STAND BY YOU.”

 

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#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

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A statement from the Golden State Warriors and retweeted by Chase Center condemned “in no uncertain terms, racism and violence perpetrated against members of the black community,” while calling on “all people to channel their justifiable anger into creating a more just and equitable society.”

 

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Statement from the Golden State Warriors

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State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, posted a portion of a quotation from Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, who told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“My voice as an African American voice, probably the biggest African American voice in our organization as a head coach, if I have the fear, who else has it? And there are a lot of people who have it.”

Vanessa Bryant posted an image on Instagram of her late husband, Kobe, wearing an “I can’t breathe” shirt, which Bryant wore after the death in 2014 in Staten Island, N.Y., of Eric Garner, who an officer had put into a chokehold.

“My husband wore this shirt years ago and yet here we are again,” she wrote while also urging people not to “use innocent lives lost as an excuse to loot.”

The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers condemned “racism, bigotry, violence and prejudice in all its forms.”

“Everyone has the right to live free from fear and to be treated with dignity and respect. We hear the pain of our Black community and we will not stay silent,” the team’s statement read.

 

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A statement from Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Capital One Arena, called the deaths of Floyd and other black Americans “unconscionable.”

“We believe that there needs to be action and leadership to tackle and address the social injustices and inequities in systemic racism,” the statement read. “We stand together knowing there is more to be done.”

 

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We Stand Together

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Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers posted a message to the NBA team’s Instagram account that noted his father was a 30-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, “and if he were still with us right now, he’d be hurt and outraged by the senseless acts of racial injustice that continue to plague our country.”

“Being black in America is tough. I’ve personally been called more racial slurs than I can count, been pulled over many times because of the color of my skin and even had my home burned down,” he went on, adding that the response to Floyd’s death has been “decades in the making.”

“Too often, people rush to judge the response, instead of the actions that prompted it,” Rivers wrote. “We have allowed too many tragedies to pass in vain. This isn’t an African-American issue. This is a human issue. Our society must start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable conversation and do the right thing. Silence and inactivity are not acceptable anymore. Now is the time speak. November is the time to vote. Your words carry a lot of weight and your ballots carry even more. The day has come to confront real problems and be a part of the solution.”

 

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Major League Soccer’s LAFC expressed “solidarity with the Black community against all acts of racism, hatred and prejudice.”

“We continue to support and promote equality. Let us raise our collective voice against all social injustice.”

 

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The NFL’s Los Angeles Rams issued the following: “Sadly, once again our city and our nation are hurting from continued acts of racism and injustice aimed at the Black Community. We stand with all of those peacefully seeking to end systemic discrimination and feel the urgency of their words. We know reform, opportunity and hope are needed to create meaningful change throughout our country, and we are committed to working with our neighbors to do our part to bring Los Angeles together.”

 

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