Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose took a bold stand Saturday night, wearing a black T-shirt with the words “I can’t breathe” on it during warm-ups before facing the Golden State Warriors.
New York City resident Eric Garner spoke those words as police apprehended him for selling loose cigarettes and placed him in a chokehold in a scene captured on video in July. Garner, a black man, later died in part from neck compressions from that chokehold. A Staten Island grand jury ruled last week that no charges would be filed against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white.
The T-shirt is the extent of Rose’s message for now as he wasn’t available for reporters postgame. Joakim Noah said Rose told him he planned to wear the shirt but didn’t elaborate on his reasons.
“He has every right to express his beliefs,” Noah said. “I respect Derrick 150 percent. He’s definitely making a statement. And that’s my guy.”
Rose donated $1 million to After School Matters, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization, in September and quietly has donated time and money to causes.
Rose’s stand Saturday was the latest in a string of demonstrations by athletes in response to police officers killing unarmed African-Americans.
Last Sunday, five St. Louis Rams players entered the field before their home game against the Raiders with their hands raised in a “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture, a response to the killing of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August. Brown was unarmed when he was shot; a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who shot Brown.
“I think a lot of people feel that way,” Noah said of Rose’s gesture. “It’s really sad what happened. Police brutality is something that happens. Not every cop is a bad person. Not every black person is a bad person. You can’t judge people. But he definitely made a statement by wearing that T-shirt.”
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune