The death of George Floyd and ensuing reaction to protests around the nation have become a polarizing topic in the United States and around the world, especially among those with large platforms, like professional athletes.
Floyd’s final minutes have been witnessed by millions of people through a disturbing viral video. It shows now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee to Floyd’s neck and the reaction to the video has sparked outrage, protests, demonstrations and in some areas violence.
Cleveland Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been vocal on the issue, but had said previously that he would no longer be sharing his opinion on social media — specifically Twitter — following some blowback he received following his first reaction.
However, Beckham jumped back on Twitter to clarify more of his thoughts on the issue and fired back at some critics who paid more attention to his grammar than what he was actually trying to get across.
Most importantly, Beckham trying to communicate a message that he didn’t feel that someone being silent on the matter makes them complicit about the issue at hand.
“Continue to divide us and not unify,” Beckham wrote. “We’re tryna unify an entire nation, which we are far far from, but that’s the only thing that bothers me . The if u don’t speak up or ur silent ur against us etc. for me it’s a tough position actually a lose lose lose.”
Not everyone agreed however, most notably Philadelphia 76ers star Tobias Harris, who tweeted a harsh response at Beckham.
“Respectfully family, if you’re silent, we don’t know what side you’re on. And if we don’t know what side you’re on, it is safe to assume you’re on the other side,” Harris wrote.
Beckham later responded to Harris saying: “Can’t agree wit ya on that family. Gather information to do what’s best I wouldn’t just say something or post something on IG cause that’s the way our world works. Have to find out how I can do something to help. Because I wasn’t silent and said something and that obviously wasn’t enough. So yea I can’t agree wit ya. But I can understand . I want my voice to count or be heard. I ain’t never been the one to post some shxt just to post it to show someone else something. I do stuff on my time and when I want to and when it feels absolutely right.”
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Saying it was a “lose, lose, lose” inspired some strong reactions in the comments beyond Harris, which Beckham addressed further.
“Sometimes….. being silent is being scared or whatever u would wanna call it. It’s actually sitting back to gather all the right information so that when u do Speak out u can spread the right information ! And not just jumpin to post a pic on ig or other platforms,” Beckham wrote, continuing in more tweet. “Which to me is fake as hell! Not here for the band wagon I’m here for the long term solution !!! I just want what I say or do to be able to be real and effective that’s all. And anybody who doesn’t see it that way I don’t give fk… period. I wanna be able to be the change NOTTT part of the problem.. and again a major part of the problem is the pick a side narrative …. how can the world be divided into sides ??? Yet unified as one ….?”
Beckham again clarified that the focus should be on a solution — not on his use of commas or spelling.
“There are who have been murdered. In front of our eyes,” Beckham wrote, expressing he wanted a platform to speak his thoughts, rather than write. “That’s where the focus should be. Not on my grammer while tweeting while im angry or frustrated. Or simply don’t care to use periods, commas, etc.”
Beckham reinforced that he didn’t want the focus to shift from what he felt was the most important thing — the death of George Floyd.
“And wit all that being said the peole who are tweeting and comin at me I just wanted them to understand … I kno where tf I stand,” Beckham said. “I stand on the side of RIGHT. But this isn’t about me at alll and I’m pissed I fell into trap. Let’s not get of focus. This is about George Floyd.
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In his initial response, Beckham expressed his frustration and has been clear that he does not feel violence is not the answer as the protests continue.
“IM FRUSTRATED. More so because I don’t even kno how to speak or comment on this issue that’s been goin on for so long. I hate feeling defeated as if the words I wanna say will never be enough to stop what’s goin on. I’m Tired. People are losing brothers sisters daughters,” Beckham wrote in his initial reaction.
“Losing fathers mothers aunties uncles etc…. VIOLENCE isn’t the answer,” he continued. “Cops killing us is not the answer, us [killing] cops is not the answer. VIOLENCE WILL ONLY BRING MORE VIOLENCE,” he wrote.
Other Browns players have responded to the news, from Jarvis Landry, to Myles Garrett, Baker Mayfield and JC Tretter.
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