Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James took to Instagram on Tuesday to share his thoughts on the death of George Floyd, who passed away on Monday night as a result of a police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes during a botched arrest. In his post, the four-time NBA MVP decried the incident and implored his nearly 65 million followers on the platform to “Stay woke.”
Video footage of Floyd’s encounter with police officers showed the 46-year-old black man struggling for air, pleading for his life and expressing fear that he could die as a white officer kept him pinned to the ground by pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck. Floyd eventually appeared to lose consciousness, but the officer continued to kneel on his neck until a stretcher arrived and he was carried away.
As shared by The Inquisitr, Floyd died at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis shortly thereafter and video footage of the incident — which showed bystanders admonishing the police officer that Floyd was in danger and pleading with him to stop kneeling on Floyd — has since gone viral.
In his post, James shared a picture with the word “This…” above a screenshot of the officer pinning Floyd to the ground, followed by the phrase “…Is Why.” placed above a picture of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In the image on the right, Kaepernick was kneeling during the national anthem before a game to protest racial injustice, police brutality and the systematic oppression of black people.
James’ update generated significant response in short order after hitting his Instagram feed. Within an hour of going live, the post had garnered more than 1 million likes, while over 35,000 users left comments.
Responses to James’ post ran the gamut from those supporting James and denouncing the events that led to Floyd’s death to those criticizing Kaepernick, saying they no longer considered themselves fans of James or commenting that police had acted appropriately because Floyd had reportedly resisted arrest.
“I stand for the flag because the people who serve and protect this country but police officers and other people who do this type of stuff deserve to be put in prison,” wrote one commenter.
“I got no time for anyone who tries to justify this. SMH…everyone should be outraged by this,” wrote another follower.
“This is complete propaganda and just lost a follow,” wrote a dissenting commenter.
Protesters have gathered at the scene of Floyd’s ill-fated arrest and around Minneapolis, and there has been a growing national outrage as a result of the incident. Meanwhile, as reported by The Inquisitr, four officers who were involved in the incident and Floyd’s subsequent death have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department.