Outspoken stars applaud 'new dawn in fight for racial justice'

Sports | REUTERS 22 Apr 2021

The sporting world celebrated the conviction of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd but cautioned there was still work ahead to achieve racial justice and equality.

The verdict followed months of protest in the United States triggered by the murder of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, last May that sparked a global movement uniting athletes around the world.

"Thank God ... guilty! Justice has been served," tweeted NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

There were reports leagues had prepared plans to postpone games if the verdict sparked violence but instead there were celebrations on the streets and across social media.

"Justice for George! The emotions I feel right now are hard to describe," said seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver in Formula 1. "This is monumental, George's death is not in vain. Convicting [Chauvin] of all three charges marks a new dawn in the fight for racial justice."

Los Angeles Lakers all-star LeBron James, one of the loudest voices in the fight against police brutality, had just one word to describe the verdict: "Accountability."

Japanese tennis star Naomis Osaka, who wore masks with the names of black victims of police brutality, including Floyd, during her title-winning run at the US Open, also chimed in.

"I was going to make a celebratory tweet but then I was hit with sadness because we are celebrating something that is clear as day," Osaka said. "The fact that so many injustices occurred to make us hold our breath toward this outcome is really telling."

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