(Image: Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News)
NBA, NFL and NCAA athletes are all coming out in support of Eric Garner and his family by wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts during pre-game routines. In case you aren’t aware, a Grand Jury recently failed to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo after he put Staten Island resident Eric Garner in a chokehold, resulting in his death. For more information on the case, read Vox’s roundup of all the relevant information and videos.
Athletes including Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Reggie Bush have worn the ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts before games, bringing more national attention to the issue. While the majority of Americans agree that the officer should have been indicted, the decision to cover up team apparel with this message has been met with a mix of praise and criticism. So far the players have not been punished, but NBA Commissioner Adam Silver isn’t entirely comfortable with the shirts:
“I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views on important issues, but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules.”
It doesn’t look like the issue is going anywhere as the number of athletes wearing the shirt grows daily, and will likely be a major focus of this weekend’s NFL broadcasts. So far players from Georgetown, the Cavs, Lakers, Nets, Lions, and Browns have worn the shirt. It is only a matter of time before NBA, NFL and NCAA make official statements and/or administer fines for the athletes involved.
Below, Cleveland Cavalier’s LeBron James addresses the media on his decision to wear the shirt:
In a world often dominated by public appearance, political correctness and profit margins, it is refreshing to see public figures use their platform for the good of others, even if they risk fines or lose endorsements.
As you enjoy games this weekend, please pray that God will use their statements to bring comfort to the family of Eric Garner and to bring about real change in our justice system.
Below are a few more images of athletes wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts before games: