South Africa: Sports Stars and Federations Speak Up in Solidarity Over George Floyd Killing

analysis

Several high-profile sports stars and ruling bodies have come out in solidarity against the brutal killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd by police, which has sparked nationwide protests in the US.

Sports stars, and particularly sports federations and ruling bodies, are notoriously reluctant when it comes to public displays of political or social comment.

The fear of losing lucrative endorsement deals and sponsorships, as well as the potential for alienating part of their support bases is usually enough to reduce most of the sporting industry to inane platitudes when there is a "real" issue.

High-profile stars such as boxer Muhammad Ali, American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick and latterly basketball star LeBron James are the exception when it comes to standing for something greater than their brand.

Sport is sprinkled with courageous athletes that have either spoken out, displayed slogans or made gestures against a host of issues from wars to politics and racism. Considering the size of the global sports industry and millions of professional athletes who have participated at the highest level, speaking out is still unusual.

American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos famously raised gloved fists on the podium at the 1968 Olympics Games in Mexico City...

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