Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose made one of the biggest social statements of his professional career by wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt while warming up before a game in solidarity with Eric Garner protesters.
While Rose did not make any verbal statements about a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict the NYPD officer who fatally placed Garner in an illegal chokehold during an altercation in July.
While Rose did not speak to the media after the game, his teammates were happy to see him stand up for what he believes in. Rose told some of his closest friends and confidants what he was planning to do before the game.
“I knew that Derrick was going to put that T-shirt on,” Bulls center Joakim Noah said. “I think he has every right to express his beliefs. He told me that he was going to wear it. I respect Derrick a lot. I think he’s definitely making a statement by wearing it. That’s my guy.”
Noah said he thinks it’s important that professional athletes use their platforms to make social statements.
“Yeah. If that’s what he wants to do, I respect it,” Noah said. “I think a lot of people feel that way. When you wear a T-shirt with a statement everybody’s going to know how you feel about it. I respect Derrick 150 percent and I’m riding with him … a lot of people feel that way. It’s really sad what happened. Police brutality is something that … it 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.”
Rose’s gesture comes on the heels of NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson’s remarks that this generation of athletes should be more socially active.
“They have to get involved socially,” Johnson said Friday. “They have to because it affects them, too. And it affects their families. They grew up in these situations; they must not forget that. They [were] once poor, they went to inner-city schools that didn’t have technology or computers, they didn’t have good books. See, I went through that whole situation. They went through that as well. A lot of their cousins are still going through that, so they must not forget that. I hope that they would do more.”
Rose isn’t the first member of the Bulls to make headlines for making a statement with a T-shirt.
Kudos to Mr. Rose for being an agent of change.
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