WASHINGTON — Some of Washington D.C.'s professional teams and athletes took to Twitter to react to the verdict that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
Bystander video viewed around the world, and multiple police body cameras, captured Chauvin kneeling on Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds in the street outside Cup Foods on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and Judge Peter Cahill later reinstated a third-degree murder charge against him. He was convicted of all three charges on Tuesday.
The Washington Football Team released this statement:
"The trial of Derek Chauvin has served as a painful, searing reminder that a senseless murder took place and claimed the life of an individual, George Floyd. We continue to keep George Floyd’s family and his community in our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers.
The long path in our social and cultural reckoning since his passing, acknowledging racism and racial bias and working toward equality and opportunity in our country, begins with accountability.
This guilty verdict rendered sends a long overdue message that those who perpetuate the mistreatment of communities of color can and will be held accountable.
And it is our sincere hope that the important and difficult conversations that George Floyd’s murder has sparked will not end today, tomorrow, nor in the future. It is our commitment that we will be persistent, on behalf of our community and in front of our leaders, in supporting those conversations so that the events of last summer and today’s verdict bring forth a legacy of change in the service of racial equity and justice for all."
Washington's head coach, Ron Rivera, quote tweeted the football team's post adding, "And we as a team will continue on this path of equity, inclusion & justice for all."
Washington Football Team President Jason Wright became the NFL's first Black president last summer, just after Floyd's murder.
"I breathed deeply and, unexpectedly, the tears flowed," Wright tweeted Tuesday. "I had no idea how much I carried this emotionally and I’m guessing I’m not alone. No personal cynicism (of which I have a lot) can silence the heart’s longing for justice."
Mystics guard Natasha Cloud also took to Twitter to share her thoughts, tweeting "This is Justice."
Cloud and her WNBA colleagues have been active in the fight against social injustice and police brutality, participating in protests and sticking with the work they began four years ago.
"First time in what feels like forever that the justice system didn’t fail us," Cloud tweeted. "It’s a baby step ... but it’s a step."
Last summer, Cloud became the first women's basketball player to sign a shoe deal with Converse for her activism as much as her basketball skills.
The Washington Mystics released this statement:
"While justice has been rightfully served in the case of George Floyd, we continue to mourn his loss and must not forget the countless others who have suffered injustice in countless ways throughout our country’s history."
The Washington Wizards also tweeted a statement:
"We are proud to continue to stand with our players as an organization as they raise awareness and ultimately drive change on this crucial cause."
Last summer Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal shared an emotional encounter he had with police when he was pulled over on I-495 two years ago.
"I'm literally on the side of the highway with my wife, me, and one of my friends sitting on the median" Beal said. "He comes up to me and says, 'What if I f*** up your Monday and put you in a headlock and arrest you right now?' I didn't do anything."
Beal said because he was a Black athlete, driving a nice vehicle, he was wrongfully profiled.
"How am I supposed to respond to that? I would just be waking up with an ESPN headline saying my interaction with police," Beal said. "It doesn't happen to just me, it happens to everyone, everywhere. It's everywhere."
Monumental Sports and Entertainment owns the Washington Mystics, Wizards and Capitals. In a statement, the company said, "Justice has been rightfully served."
The Washington Nationals reacted to the verdict by posting a picture of George Floyd that says "Rest in peace."
Here's how some other local sports figures are reacting to the Derek Chauvin verdict:
Two-time Super Bowl champion and former Maryland Terrapin Torrey Smith.
Pro Bowl receiver and Gaithersburg, Maryland, native Stefon Diggs.
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II.