Before taking the field against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 13), the Minnesota Vikings will honor George Floyd’s family.
The 46-year-old Black man was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while three other officers, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao stood by. Video of Floyd’s murder immediately sparked nationwide protests against police violence against Black bodies.
Floyd’s family will be recognized after a pre-recorded performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson, according to a Vikings news release.
The NFL team also confirmed that they “will continue to use the team’s platform to bring awareness to critical issues of racism and injustice when they kick off the season.”
Vikings players will wear custom shirts with the words “Be the Change” on the front and the names of 200 people who have been killed by acts of racism or police brutality on the back, the release states.
Players will also have the option to peacefully protest by wearing helmet decals with social justice messages or victims names. End zones in the stadium will be painted with “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism,” as one of the league’s many initiatives announced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earlier this month.
On May 29, Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and arrested on third-degree murder and manslaughter charges. On June 3, his charges were upgraded to second-degree murder by the state’s attorney general Keith Ellison.
Lane, Thao, and Kueng were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting on June 3.
A trial date for the four officers has tentatively been scheduled for March 8, 2021.
According to ABC, the other officers on the scene, Lane, Thao, Kueng and Chauvin are all asking for separate trials and blaming each other for the death of Floyd.
The outlet reports, “Attorneys for Lane and Kueng have argued that their clients were rookies, who were following Chauvin’s lead. Thao’s attorney, Bob Paule, has said that his client’s role was ‘absolutely distinct’ from the others, because he was on crowd control and was securing the scene– while the other three restrained Floyd.”
BET has been covering every angle of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)