Georgetown University’s Men’s basketball team became the latest set of athletes to outwardly condemn a grand jury’s decision not to indict an NYPD officer who fatally choked a 43-year-old man. Few words had to be said by team members, because the words on their warm-up shirts spoke volumes.
[The Hoyas are the first in college basketball] to don “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts before Wednesday night’s 75-70 loss to No. 10 Kansas.
The entire Hoyas roster took its final pregame warmup of the evening in black shirts with white font. A team spokesman told ESPN.com the decision to wear the shirts was made collectively between the players.
“There were a variety of reasons why we wanted to wear the shirts,” said D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. “There were quite a few families that lost their loved ones this year: Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin … we wanted to represent those families that all lost. It wasn’t just for this one scenario for a lot of people who know just this one case, I just think we wanted to represent the families and send our condolences that way.”
The shirts quote the final words of New York native Eric Garner, who lost his life after a police officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes. A video recording of the incident went viral, and showed Garner repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.”
On Dec. 3, a grand jury decided that Officer Daniel Pantaleo was innocent of all involvement regarding Garner’s death, despite a coroner ruling the death a homicide.
NFL players have also worn the shirts during warm-ups.
Black lives matter.
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