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World of pro sports reacts to guilty verdict in George Floyd killing

Last Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 10:24 am PDT

People hold Black Lives Matter flags at the intersection of Florence and Normandie Avenues, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Los Angeles, after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Leagues, players, teams have issued statements in the wake of guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin

Chauvin convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter in killing of George Floyd

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s been plenty of reaction from the sports world since Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the killing of George Floyd, with athletes and teams continuing to call for societal change.

“Today’s outcome in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis does not undo the loss of life,” the NFL said on Twitter Tuesday. “Mr. George Floyd should be here with us.”

The league went on to say that while the verdict was reason for hope, there is still work that needs to be done to continue to “move our society toward a more equal and just tomorrow.”

NFL teams also individually issued their own statements, as did many players.

And while much of the social media reaction from pro-sports entities was well received, there were also instances where some fell short.

The Las Vegas Raiders took to Twitter, posting an image with the words “I can breathe” and Tuesday’s date below.

The tweet drew plenty of condemnation, with some — including Tennessee Titans receiver AJ Brown — calling it disrespectful.

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But team owner Mark Davis isn’t backing down, telling ESPN the tweet was his idea and that he meant no disrespect. The tweet had been quote-tweeted tens of thousands of times, even by NBA superstar Lebron James who asked, “this is real?”

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, the NBA and NBA Players Association called George Floyd’s murder “a flash point for how we look at race and justice in our country.”

The NBA and NBAPA said they were pleased, but recognize there’s still a lot of work left to do.

B.C.’s Steve Nash, who is the head coach of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, was asked for his reaction to the verdict on Tuesday.

“It’s bittersweet. Obviously, George Floyd lost his life, as many others have, unjustly, and we can’t forget that people are losing their lives. On the other hand, it is a small gesture of justice and possibly hope for the future,” he said, adding this was perhaps a sign that social justice movements are making an impact, whether it’s small or large.

“It gives hope that the voices of many are making change, and that we have a better future for our kids,” Nash added, hoping these kinds of verdicts become the norm.

Major League Baseball also made a comment, with the players association adding its members remain committed to “advancing the cause of civil rights and equal justice under the law.”

The NHL took some heat for a terse, one-sentence statement that “invited fans” to join them in supporting systemic change.

The NHL’s statement didn’t mention Floyd by name, prompting power agent Allan Walsh to tweet in response “that’s it?”

The Canucks, meantime, released a statement calling on everyone to end racism together — and that their thoughts are with Floyd’s family.

Chauvin, who was a Minneapolis police officer at the time of Floyd’s death, was convicted Tuesday of murder and manslaughter for pinning Floyd to the pavement, with his knee on the Black man’s neck. The case touched off worldwide protests, violence, and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.