George Floyd

Michael Jordan, Other Chicago Athletes React to Death of George Floyd and Protests

Athletes and team personnel from Chicago are voicing their concerns on the death George Floyd and protests happening across the country

James Keivom/New York Daily News

Several Chicago athletes and one of the major teams in the city are weighing-in on the death of George Floyd and recent protests occurring across the country.

Chicago Bulls legened Michael Jordan issued a statement on Sunday via the Jordan brand Twitter account expressing his frustration and pain over the death of Floyd, an handcuffed black man who died after a Minneapolis policeman was seen kneeling on his neck for several minutes.

"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," the statement reads"

"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 out 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."

Meanwhile the Chicago Bulls issued a statement Sunday from Nancy Reinsdorf, President of Chicago Bulls Charities, and Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO of the Chicago Bulls addressing the recent events.

“The events of the past weeks have been disturbing and challenging for us all. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the incident with Christian Cooper, were gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. The Bulls organization sends our condolences to these families who have been caused unthinkable grief and to all those who suffer because of these terrible incidents,” the statement reads.

“All too often, after these tragedies we talk but the conversations don’t result in any meaningful changes. Our communities can’t move forward or hope for peace when we’re constantly hitting the reset button after each incident. Everyone deserves to feel safe, to be respected and to be able to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, that’s not the kind of world we live in.

“We are angry, sad and confused. Racism in any form is wrong, and what we see happening makes us want to take action. We know that’s the same for a lot of people. But anger isn’t about destruction. Lawless actions won’t bring better understanding, and they don’t honor the lives that have been lost. We should use our energy and efforts to come together to build a better Chicago that stands for equality and justice for all.

“There is a crisis in our country, and we need to redouble our efforts and work harder than ever. We have to rise above our differences and come together to affect real change for the future; otherwise we’re going to see the past repeat itself again. We have to listen to each other, act with love and be intentional and relentless in our pursuit of a better world. It is time. We at the Chicago Bulls organization are committed to working together to stand for real change. We can do this together.”

Bulls guard Zach LaVine took to Twitter to voice his concern amid rising tensions and civil unrest.

“This has been going on for hundreds of years now! And still with little to no change. Got to do better! But how can there be change if the ones with POWER are not willing to listen or do anything about their actions!”

LaVine’s teammate Wendell Carter Jr. also took to Twitter questioning the chaos and offering a solution to the unrest.

“What is going on man ? Is it that hard to just do the right thing and love one another. You know how simple and fun this world would be if we just did those 2 things?”

Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito issued a statement on Twitter and called for change amid the growing tension across the country.

"I don't know what it is to grow up black in the USA because it was not my experience," Giolito said Saturday night. "I do know that my parents never had to worry about me being pulled over and maybe never making it home.”

"It's time to do better. It's time for true equality and justice for all Americans. In fact, it's way overdue. Stop turning a blind eye, stop refusing to talk about it because it's 'uncomfortable.' Complacency will only allow the scourge of racism to survive. It's been 400 years. Enough is enough," Giolito continued.

“Black men and women like Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor will continue to die on the streets and in their homes if we don't stand alongside of them, echoing their voices loud and clear and demand real change and accountability.”

Giolito’s teammate, short stop Tim Anderson has also been actively posting on his social media accounts in lieu of the recent protests, posting photos of himself among graffitied walls and windows.

Much of the city woke to a stream of damage that marked the path where protesters marched in downtown Chicago Saturday evening, leaving behind broken windows, graffiti and the shattered remains of some of the city's most popular shops.

By Sunday, nearly every storefront on the popular strip saw some form of damage. Among them were Zara, Nike, CVS, Walgreens and Neiman Marcus, along with the Macy's storefront on State Street.

Elsewhere, road closures and public transit schedule changes remained in effect, with CTA service suspended and Illinois State Police shutting down several highway ramps that feed traffic into the downtown area.

Members of the National Guard have been called to Chicago as the city braces for additional protests later in the afternoon and evening.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, at her request, "has ordered a contingent of the National Guard to maintain a limited presence to support our police department in order to not have a repeat of what we saw last night."

The move is in addition to a citywide curfew that remains in effect daily from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. "until further notice."

"I know many people are feeling scared and unsettled but I make no apologies," Lightfoot said. "I am always going to make the tough and necessary choice. Chicago is strong. This is our home. This is a city that we built with our blood sweat and tears."

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