Update: It appears other players have decided to voice their thoughts on this very prevalent issue. Last night Kobe Bryant and other members of the Los Angeles Lakers decided to sport the same “I Can’t Breathe” shirt that has been seen throughout the league.

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After the death of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, players in the sports world have responded in outrage over police brutality, racial profiling and — after the failure to indict the officers responsible — a complete mistrust in the system. Needless to say, there have been plenty public displays of protest from athletes in the last few weeks: the most recent came last night when key NBA athletes like Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose and countless Brooklyn Nets wore “I can’t breathe” shirts during warm ups.

The “I can’t breathe” reference is of course from the Eric Garner video: where after the victim was put in a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, he was heard repeating those faithful words before passing out. Now, the protests against police brutality was not limited to the NBA: over the weekend, several key athletes in a variety of sports were seen sporting a shirt with the infamous phrase.

On top of this, “the hands up don’t shoot” — referencing the Michael Brown case — pose has become another way for athletes to support their community and protest these horrible situations. Of course, the most famous display of this was the St. Louis Rams stars, who came out during the pre-game introduction with their hands raised: which led to the St. Louis police department over-stepping their bounds and demanding an apology from the NFL team. Fast forward to this weekend and Washington star Chris Baker did the same exact pose after sacking Rams’ QB Shaun Hill.


A photo posted by bigbake92 (@bigbake92) on

Needless to say, these incidents are a lot bigger than sports. And though people believe that sports and politics should remain separate, we should commemorate these athletes for using their celebrity status to take a stance on such a polarizing topic.

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