NBA, WNBA, MLS players urge Senate to pass George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, speaks to reporters while standing with members of the Floyd family at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, speaks to reporters while standing with members of the Floyd family at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Image: Getty Images

Here’s another way to take a stand one year after George Floyd’s killing, NFL.

Last night, the newly formed NBA social justice coalition released a statement urging congress to pass “common-sense policy reform” with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The coalition did so hours before May 25, the anniversary of the day George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin.

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In April, the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty on all three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

“Today, as this painful anniversary approaches, we have an opportunity to honor the memory of Mr. Floyd and others who have been victims of police brutality in this country by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.” James Cadogan, Executive Director of the league’s social justice coalition said. “Systemic problems demand systemic solutions. And, because police actions are governed by a diverse array of state laws and local policies, the Floyd Act takes unprecedented strides towards consistency—reforming at a federal level the practices that failed its namesake.”

In their own statement, the WNBPA added that they are “hopeful that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the important first step for comprehensive policing reform at the federal level.”

Some of the bill’s components include attempts to end racial and religious profiling in federal, state, and local law enforcement; ban chokeholds and no knock warrants; require body cameras; eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, and more.

“America has a serious problem when it comes to discriminatory policing,” the WNBPA continued. “It is a deadly problem for Black and brown people. Excessive force used against communities of color is past crisis-level. Excessive force used against communities of color demands action by Congress.”

Black Players for Change, an independent group representing Black MLS players, also added their voice to the growing list of athlete organizations calling to pass the police reform bill.

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“[The NBPA] communicating that to us, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for us to collaborate because I just think it’s the most meaningful thing that we can do in memory of George Floyd,” Toronto FC defender and Black Players for Change executive director, Justin Morrow, told ESPN. “Pass some real reform that’s going to change [things].”

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“The biggest thing is qualified immunity,” Morrow specified. “That’s something that we absolutely have to change. It’s something that’s a big part of the bill, but there are other parts of police reform in there.”

Memorial for George Floyd.
Memorial for George Floyd.
Image: Getty Images
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The NBA statement concludes with Cadogan writing that he hopes to see senators from both sides of the aisle pass the bill so President Biden can sign it into law.

Good luck with that.

While a recent poll found that a majority of voters largely support components of the bill, unfortunately, yet predictably, not all legislators in Washington are on board.

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Although the U.S. House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act 220 to 212 in March, the vote was mostly down party lines. Every Democrat, except two, voted for the bill. Every Republican, except one, voted against it. And the one Republican who voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act said he “accidentally pressed the wrong voting button.” Yes, really.

With the Senate split 50-50, the tie breaking vote may come down to Vice President Harris.