Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said he is for peaceful protesting and said “I hope there’s more of that tonight” after Sunday’s Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Some major U.S. cities remained under curfew orders as people across the county and the world protested the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death as Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee.
Numerous athletes from across all sports have commented on Floyd’s death and the protests since, including NASCAR drivers Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick and Ty Dillon, along with Serena Williams, LeBron James, Richard Sherman, and Lewis Hamilton, who stated on Instagram: “We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.”
Asked about the protests after Floyd’s death, Johnson said Sunday: “I’ve watched it all. The circumstances are just crazy and unacceptable. I am for protesting, peaceful protesting. I hope there’s more of that tonight. I know there are concerns, especially in the Charlotte area, near my home, that they will be protesting tonight.
“The message needs to be clear, but I think being peaceful is really the right way to send the message here. I hope everybody stays safe.”
Johnson spoke up in 2016 when there were protests in Charlotte, North Carolina after a police officer fatally shot Keith Lamont Scott. Johnson said at that time: “I’m a firm believer of gender equality, race equality, and I live my life that way and teach that to my children.’’
Said Clint Bowyer after Sunday’s race when asked about his reaction to Floyd’s death: “It’s very sad. Heart goes out to everybody involved. Just praying for everybody. It’s very sad to see every angle, every aspect, everything you’re seeing. Very, very sad.”
It hurts to see our country being torn apart by racism & hate. I can’t pretend to understand what black men & women have experienced but I can speak out & condemn racial inequality. I hope love for all mankind can prevail & make changes to build a better future for our children pic.twitter.com/ciLHHAhlDn
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) June 1, 2020
To the ones that believe we’re trying to throw black vs white at them.. open your eyes..😤
It’s right vs wrong. It’s inclusion. We’re one race…Humans
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) May 31, 2020
I made this tweet 5 days ago, and I hope everyone now talking about this really mean it, not just because they feel pressure to. Let’s make a real change, not just follow others 🙏🏼 https://t.co/zpyGyK65Rg
— Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) June 1, 2020
— Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) June 1, 2020
As human beings we all have to stand together on what’s right and wrong. What happened to Mr. Floyd and all others who have been oppressed has sickened me. I support the change that needs to happen in this country and around the world. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/NZL42HJjum
— Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) June 1, 2020
I’ll never understand what it feels like to be black-but I’ll do my very best to not add to the pain/anger-support those who feel it & raise kids that don’t contribute to it-I promise I’ll call you out when you say something that crosses a line-Don’t care who you are-Every time. pic.twitter.com/GHcODsi9hh
— Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) June 1, 2020