O'Sullivan: killing of George Floyd 'most horrendous' thing I've ever seen

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O'Sullivan is gearing up for a tilt at a sixth Betfred World Championship triumph at the Crucible
O'Sullivan is gearing up for a tilt at a sixth Betfred World Championship triumph at the Crucible

Ronnie O’Sullivan says the death of George Floyd was the ‘most horrendous’ thing he’s ever seen, writes Will Jennings.

The five-time world champion was appalled at the treatment of Floyd on May 25, killed by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis after being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.

The moment sent shockwaves all over the globe and injected further impetus into the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns for greater equality after centuries of oppression against black citizens.

O’Sullivan has kept a close eye on the news during the lay-off from snooker and was outraged by the video that emerged from Minnesota.

“I think that was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever witnessed, watching what they did to George Floyd,” he said.

“It was the most disturbing act from one human to another human, it really was… it done me, to be honest with you.

“I wouldn’t want to watch it again – I watched it at first because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but it was quite difficult to see that one human could do that to another human.

“You see some of this stuff that’s going on in America and you just think ‘it’s mental.’”

World No.75 Alfie Burden took a knee in a symbolic gesture at his recent match in the Championship League, following in the footsteps of Premier League footballers, international cricketers and other sporting stars around the globe to show his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

O’Sullivan is currently preparing for the Betfred World Snooker Championship at the Crucible, bidding for a sixth title in Sheffield as he seeks to narrow the gap on seven-time champion Stephen Hendry.

The world No.6 is acutely aware there’s far more to life than snooker, however, having been a voracious consumer of news throughout a career that's seen him win 36 ranking event titles.

O’Sullivan has been in lockdown alongside fiancée, Laila Rouass, at their Essex home, adopting hobbies such as running and cooking to navigate his way through the break.

And the 44-year-old says living with Laila, an actress, has helped open his eyes to the injustices unfolding away from the snooker world.

“It’s [the Black Lives Matter movement] obviously a very, very important issue out there,” he added.

“It’s not so much the blatant racism but it’s more the systematic type of racism.

“I’m not very politically aware of certain things, but my girlfriend [Laila] is so I’ve kind of been educated a little bit by her.

“She said it’s more systematic racism, and I kind of get it – we should all feel when we’re walking out of a house in the morning that our life isn’t in danger."

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