The Players Coalition and a group of sports figures including Tom Brady and Steve Kerr have joined a groundswell of calls for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, whose shooting death sparked a national outcry.
Video emerged on social media on Tuesday showing two white men in a pickup truck chase down Arbery — a 25-year-old-black man — and fatally shoot him as he jogged through a residential Georgia neighborhood.
NFL, NBA players call for justice
The Players Coalition sent a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr on Friday, urging the Department of Justice to intervene in the case that saw the suspects go more than two months without being arrested.
Only after video emerged and sparked an outcry were Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, arrested on Thursday. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation made the arrests and charged the two men with murder and aggravated assault. Local law enforcement in Brunswick declined to detain them and delayed bringing charges. Gregory has ties to local law enforcement as a former police officer and district attorney’s office investigator.
Former NFL wide receiver and Players Coalition co-founder Anquan Boldin signed the letter, which was co-signed by 63 current and former NFL and NBA players and coaches including Brady, Kerr, Shaun Alexander, Mark Ingram and Malcolm Jenkins.
According to its mission statement, the Players Coalition “exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have opportunity to thrive without barriers.”
Athletes speak out
NBA star LeBron James spoke out on Wednesday after the video of the shooting went public.
Runners have joined the #IrunwithMaud campaign to honor Arbery’s memory.
What the Players Coalition wants
Citing previous federal interventions in cases like the Rodney King beating and subsequent acquittal of police officers that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the Players Coalition called on the the DOJ to work alongside the FBI in investigating the Arbery case.
“If it does not, but instead choses to turn its back on this obvious injustice, the DOJ will relinquish its role as the champion for the defenseless and send the unmistakable message that the federal government will not protect us from violence, prejudice and injustice in our communities,” the letter reads.
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