Tag Archives: eric garner

NBA Stars Take a Stand With “I Can’t Breathe T-Shirts”

By Nick Muhl

In a show of support for Eric Garner and his family, NBA stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and several other players wore black “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during the Cleveland Cavaliers game versus the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night.

The players wore the shirts during their pre-game warm ups, copying the move by Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Rose was the first to wear the shirt during his pre-game warm up before the Bulls game on Saturday.

While LeBron had made many statements throughout the prior week, regarding his displeasure with several highlighted law enforcement related deaths including Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, the decision to wear the shirts came as a surprise to many.

James was interviewed following the game and attributed the symbolic act to “the power of social media.”

James was quoted Sunday requesting a shirt like Rose, through the social media app Twitter, Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack was able to supply and coordinate wearing the shirts in a sign of peaceful protest.

When the players for both teams came out for pre-game warm ups, the social media world erupted. While the twitter world was scattered with both positive and negative reactions, the #ICantBreathe trend rose back to the top trend on Twitter following the pre-game warm ups, and still remains in the top 5.

Just as LeBron attributed the success of the silent protest to social media, James, Rose, and the other NBA players knew their act of protest would draw attention to the major racial issues and tensions going on recently in the United States – especially on social media.

The NBA is not the only professional sports league to be the topic of headlines regarding players act of protests in the past several weeks. Most notably the NFL’s St. Louis Rams had several players including wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, who demonstrated the “hands up, don’t shoot” sign of protest during pre-game introductions for the team last Sunday.The NFL did not fine any of the Rams players.

According to USA Today’s Sam Amick, the NBA will not fine any of the players for wearing the t-shirts at this time. However, Amick will not provide the name of his source.

LeBron had this to say about the protest following the game,

“As a society we have to do better. We have to be better for one another no matter what race you are. But it’s more of a shoutout to the family more than anything because they’re the ones who should be getting the energy and effort.”

Coverage of the many protests have highlighted the news now for several weeks, and can be expected to for at least several more weeks. It remains to be seen if the NBA players act of protest will continue and how much media attention, as well as social media reaction, it will receive.

Reggie Bush Stands in Protest

By Ellen Chlumecky

On Sunday Reggie Bush, took a stand during pregame warm ups before the Detroit Lions’ game against Tampa Bay. During pregame warm ups, Reggie Bush showed up in a blue Detroit Lions shirt with “I Can’t Breathe” written in black marker. This statement was signifying the last words of Eric Garner, the New York man who died while being placed in a choke hold while the police attempted to arrest him.

Bush had a great deal to say about the statement during the pregame warm ups. Bush stated that the situation is a terrible and unfortunate one and he is disgusted that these types of events are still happening in our society today. He continues by saying that it does not just affect a few people, it affects everybody. He explains that we are all in this situation together and it’s not just one person’s problem.

While Bush did not run the decision by coach Jim Caldwell, but Caldwell did support his statement. Caldwell said that he would be a hypocrite if he didn’t believe in the cause. He stated that some of the Dr. King non-violent protests that occurred are part of the reason he is standing there today. He supported Bush in his decision to wear the t-shirt.

Reggie Bush is not the only one makes a statement. The day before fellow athlete, Derrick Rose wrote an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt in pregame warm ups  before the Bulls’ game on Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors. Bush admitted to seeing it and being impressed with the action. Bush believes that because as professional athletes, they have a voice and can use it to act as role models and lead by example. Cleveland Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi warmed up in a shirt with the message. St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Davin Joseph wore the same message on his cleats.

This is not Reggie Bush’s first statement on the topic. It has been a continuous trend of protest for Bush. He took to Twitter last month after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted by a grand injury in the killing of Michael Brown. Bush was not shy about expressing his opinion on the subject. Bush believes that the system seemed flawed and the situation was not handled well. Bush expressed his disdain and how the whole situation made him sick to his stomach. However, even though he was upset with the situation, he explained that people rioting was not the answer and was embarrassed because of the way people were handling the situation.

While most people don’t tend to mix sports and serious events going on in the world, these athletes want to take a stand. As Bush said, they are people who fans respect and listen to, if they make it clear that violence and riots are not the answer, maybe they will have an impact. The death of Eric Garner is a huge loss and tragedy. Violent protests are not the way to solve problems. However, these athletes want to stand up for those who can’t, by protesting peacefully.