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Hamilton: elite F1 'silent' amid racist injustice

June 1, 2020

Champion driver Lewis Hamilton has slammed "white-dominated" Formula One for its week-long silence over America's George Floyd death and racism. Basketball's Michael Jordan says he's "truly pained."

Lewis Hamilton
Image: picture-alliance/Live Media/IPA/A. Morgese

Hamilton accused motor racing industry leaders of "staying silent" for too long since the Minnesota death of a black man in a police neck-hold that's evolved into anti-racist protests worldwide.

Taking to Instagram late Sunday, Hamilton, whose father is from Trindad and Tobago, told Formula One heads: "I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest stars... yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice."

"Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport," added the Briton and Mercedes pilot, who has long sought F1 diversity, adding "I'm one of the only people of color there yet I stand alone."

His verbal sting was followed by other F1 drivers, Charles Leclerc and George Russell.

"I still struggle to find the words to describe the atrocity of some videos I've seen on Internet," tweeted Ferrari's Lerclec. "Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence."

Read more: 'The precedent of abandoning a match needs to be set'

Russell, who drives for Williams, said he had initially felt out of place sharing his thoughts but went on: "It's time we all stand together and kick racism out of our societies for good. Use your voice, spread awareness as far as you can."

The German sports news agency SID quoted new McLaren recruit Daniel Ricciardo of Australia as describing racism as "poison."

Peaceful protest, urges Hamilton

Hamilton, 35, had emphasized in his message his support for peaceful protest, and not "those looting and burning buildings." 

Until our "so-called leaders make change" there could be no peace, insisted Hamilton, "not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy, and all over." 

Formula One's 22-race season has been abeyance, with 10 races cancelled or postponed since early March. It's supposed to resume in Austria in early July.

NBA's Jordan 'truly pained'

American NBA basketball legend Michael Jordan said Sunday he was "deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry" over Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

Read more: Colin Kaepernick reaches settlement on NFL collusion suit

Black Lives Matter: Jadon Sancho leads Bundesliga players' show of support

Video footage last week showed one among four white policemen holding his knee on the handcuffed man's neck for several minutes. He was later pronounced dead.

Protests at Bundesliga matches

In German Bundeliga football Sunday French player Marcus Thuram kneed — emulating a 2016 gesture by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. — after scoring a goal for Borussia Monchengladbach. 

And,England international Jadon Sanchomarked one of his goals for Borussia Dortmund by lifting his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing "Justice for George Floyd."

US tennis great Serena Williams posted a video of an emotionally upset African-American girl telling a public meeting: "We are black people, and we shouldn't have to feel like this."

ipj/rc (SID, AFP, dpa, AP)

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