Sport reacts to decision not to charge officers in Taylor case

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Lewis Hamilton (pictured from behind) wearing a t-shirt featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor and the words 'say her name'
Lewis Hamilton wore a T-shirt featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor at the Tuscan Grand Prix

Sport stars including LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick have expressed their disappointment at a decision not to charge any police officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a black woman, was shot multiple times as officers stormed her home in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 March.

Two white officers have not been charged while a third, also white, was charged with endangering 26-year-old Taylor’s neighbours.

Athletes around the world have added their voices to the public outcry surrounding Taylor’s death and the grand jury’s decision.

Kentucky Attorney General Mr Cameron held a news conference to explain the decision, saying: “This is a gut-wrenching emotional case.

“Each [case] is unique and cannot be compared,” Cameron said:external-link “There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who having never lived in Kentucky, will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t.”

What sports stars have said

LeBron James tweets:

At the Tuscan Grand Prix this month, Hamilton wore a T-shirt with the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”.

Writing on Instagram, the six-time Formula 1 world champion said: “I’m so sad but not surprised at this outcome. Police continue to get away with murder every single day and it needs to stop! She was innocent and did not deserve to be shot and killed. Where is the justice, this clearly isn’t it.

“It hurts to know somebody was killed and nobody was held accountable. Imagine that was your mum, your brother or sister or friend, her life mattered but the system which was meant to protect her failed her all because of her skin colour. So mad.”

United States women’s footballer Megan Rapinoeexternal-link said: “My heart is with the family of Breonna Taylor right now. My god. This is devastating and unfortunately not surprising. Black and brown folx in this country deserve so much more.”

Colin Kaepernick tweet: Magic Johnson tweet:

Johnson, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, added: “Another innocent black life gone with no consequences!! Breonna Taylor was 26, a daughter, a cousin, a friend, a girlfriend, an ER technician, an AMERICAN.”

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said it was “demoralising” and “discouraging”.

He told the Athletic: “We have so many people who care about this country and so many people who want change and believe in equal justice for black and brown communities, and yet we don’t have it.

“It’s such a tough hill to climb, but this long history of racism that we have in our country continues, and it continues in the form of this kind of violence, state-sanctioned violence, over and over again that we’re seeing. It’s devastating.”

Dwyane Wade tweet:

Other basketball players have had their say, with the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown saying he “wasn’t surprised”.

“I think that this society – the way it was built – its intentions was to never protect and serve people of colour initially.”

Miami Heat centre Bam Adebayo said: “It’s crazy that somebody killed somebody and we get to the same charge as somebody that uses an unauthorized credit card. I don’t think people really understand like, she’s dead. Somebody killed her. At the end of the day, you need justice for that. All the other stuff, you need justice for her.”

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone added: “Just tragic. We’ve been using our platform down here to try and bring education and a voice. A lot of players on our team also have spoken out about justice for Breonna Taylor and we have not got that justice and that’s a shame. Hopefully that will change at some point.”

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