George Floyd: Sports stars join 'Blackout Tuesday'

By Ciaran VarleyBBC Sport

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Athletes and teams around the world have taken a blackout on social media in response to George Floyd's death.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died on 25 May after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin has been sacked and charged with third-degree murder.

In the meantime, protests have swept across the US and the UK - and sports stars have added their voices in various ways too.

On Tuesday, across the world, people and organisations have been sharing a simple, but striking message of protest, with a social media 'blackout'.

'Blackout Tuesday' began as an initiative in the music industry, with record labels promising, "a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community".

The message has spread beyond music and Instagram, in particular, has been flooded with blacked-out images in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the US, major NBA stars have shared the same message.

Major footballers across the world have also shown solidarity.

As have some football teams across Europe.

Last April, professional footballers in England and Wales took part in a similar, 24-hour social media boycott, to protest against the way social networks and football authorities respond to racism.

A number of major cricket and rugby stars and teams have also joined the blackout.

It's a simple, but powerful message, although there has been some criticism that the amount of posts using the #blacklivesmatter hashtag are making it difficult for people to find information about activism and donations.

The blackout is also just one of many ways that athletes, among others, have joined what has become a truly international discussion about race, police brutality and equality.

Welsh sprinter Sam Gordon says racism is a daily issue for him in the UK

On Monday, Liverpool players paused during training to take a knee, while the Newcastle squad did the same on Tuesday. That act has been a widely recognised gesture of protest against racism and police brutality ever since then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the US national anthem in August 2016.

In a post on his Instagram, Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba said that he felt, "anger, pity, hatred, indignation, pain, sadness".

In Germany, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Thuram joined protests. England forward Sancho was booked for unveiling a 'Justice for George Floyd' t-shirt after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, but German FA president Fritz Keller said he felt "respect and understanding" for players protesting.

In boxing, Floyd Mayweather has offered to pay the funeral costs for Floyd.

Sports always reflects culture, to a degree. These are not new forms of protest and it's not the first time that the like has been seen, but the sheer breadth and scale of sportspeople and organisations getting involved is impressive.

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