The Minnesota Vikings commented Wednesday on the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer suffocated Floyd. Officer Derek Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground while he was handcuffed.
The statement reads:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life that occurred Monday evening just blocks from our stadium. Everyone in our community deserves the right to feel protected and safe. Our thoughts are with the George Floyd family and all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy.”
Floyd was arrested at the intersection of E. 38th Street on S. Chicago Avenue — the same street where U.S. Bank Stadium stands three miles north. Floyd was pronounced dead at a local hospital an hour after his arrest.
This is the first time the Vikings have made a public statement amid a string of civilian deaths at the hands of Twin Cities area police over the past five years: Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017; Philando Castile in 2016; Jamar Clark in 2015; and now George Floyd.
NFL fans across the country have responded to the team’s statement, including some rivals.
RESPECT to the organization. Sad that in this day and age, these words are viewed as "controversial."
I'm a Saints fan who can't stand you guys (for obvious reasons) on the field.
But this is REAL LIFE.
As a Black man, I applaud even this simple gesture of empathy.
— Philly Who Dat (@whodat2835) May 27, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for the arrest and charging of Chauvin and the other three officers involved. They have all been fired from the Minneapolis police force.
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Floyd Was a Star Tight End in High School
Floyd attended Jack Yates High School in Houston and was a tall, skinny basketball player turned tight end on one of the Lions’ most memorable teams that made it to the Class 5A state title game in 1992.
Former teammate Oscar Smallwood, who went on to play at Texas Tech, recalled Floyd’s mild-mannered nature, telling the Houston Chronicle of an intrasquad scrimmage where Floyd caught a deep pass and handed the ball to Smallwood to avoid being hit. Smallwood added that under the lights is when he shined, often converting on an endzone fade the coaching staff drew up for “Big Floyd.”
Here’s George Floyd scoring a touchdown in ‘92. What a play. Yates HS game hero.
Probably seems like a lifetime ago to Floyd’s family and friends.
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) May 27, 2020
Jack Yates football coach Michael Hickey, a 1991 graduate, told the Houston Chronicle that Floyd was “beloved by everybody.”
“He was not a violent person. I had never seen him be violent in high school or ever heard about him being violent after that,” Hickey said. “I don’t know a lot about his adult background, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. He was always smiling every time I saw him.”
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