WASHINGTON: Several NFL players showed their support Sunday for the “I can’t breathe” protests sweeping the United States demanding justice for black men who have died at the hands of white policemen.
On Saturday, Chicago Bulls NBA star Derrick Rose wore a T-shirt bearing the words, which have become the slogan of the demonstrations in major US cities because they were the last phrase uttered by a black father of six in New York when police placed him in a chokehold.
Eric Garner died, but a grand jury on Wednesday decided not to charge a white police officer, triggering days of protests in several US cities.
Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush wore a top with “I can’t breathe” written on it ahead of an NFL game on Sunday, as did Cleveland Browns ace Johnson Bademosi.
Davin Joseph, a St Louis Rams guard, wrote the same words on his cleats and tweeted it, along with the caption: “RIP Eric Garner.”
Five Rams players incurred the wrath of a St Louis police organization a week ago when they entered the field with the same “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture adopted by protesters in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson after a white policeman there shot dead an unarmed black teenager.
Rose’s teammate Joakim Noah said Rose told him he had planned to wear the shirt and supported it.
“I think a lot of people feel that way,” Noah said of Rose’s gesture. “It’s really sad what happened. Police brutality is something that happens.
“Not every cop is a bad person. Not every black person is a bad person. You can’t judge people. But he definitely made a statement by wearing that T-shirt.”