George Floyd

Steph Curry Calls on People to Speak Up, Get Uncomfortable to Enact Change

Steph Curry was one of the first athletes to speak out after George Floyd's death in police custody.

The Warriors star posted on Instagram trying to articulate how fed up he is with police violence against African-Americans and the institutional racism that's been prevalent in this country since its inception. The Warriors star spoke further about Floyd's death, the ensuing protests and where he thinks we as a society can go from here in an appearance on "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack.

"It's just crazy, how many examples do you need," Curry said of police violence and systemic racism toward African-Americans. "This one, I actually found out from [Stephen Jackson]. He's been posting like crazy trying to make sure his partner is memorialized the right way and they remember his name and he's taken that on his back. It's crazy to think in my Instagram feed, I don't post that much, but like, I couldn't even get through eight different posts from Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd. And that, in and of itself, it's sad to your point. One, we know there's police brutality, we know there's systemic racism, all these issues that we're all trying to address. As the black community, the thing that we are doing is trying to use our voice, our platforms, everybody is activating in the streets and the communities trying to do the work and everyone is playing their part.

"But until people outside of our community speak up, use their platform, get uncomfortable and actually feel some type of emotional change to the issues then we are just going to be in the same situation. That, to me, is the thing I've been watching on social media, if we can actually get some solutions. To raise your voice and get mad and get angry and you hate doing it over and over again, but we got to figure out some solutions to this problem and they got to be accountable to it."

Floyd, an unarmed African-American who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis when officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for eight minutes. The video showed Floyd telling Chauvin and three other officers who were watching that he couldn't breathe and asking for Chauvin to stop. Floyd's death sparked protests across the country as citizens march against police brutality and systemic racism.

Floyd's death comes three months after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by armed white residents of a South Georgia neighborhood while he was out on a run. After months of outcry and the release of the video of the killing, the two men finally were arrested on May 22 and charged with murder. It took three months and a massive outcry from celebrities, like Curry, for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in and arrest Gregory and Travis McMichael.

Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. To Curry, the video of Chauvin killing Floyd was horrifying and Chauvin's reaction during the video and in the aftermath shows how deep the systemic racism is ingrained in the DNA of people and institutions.

"It's crazy that he's been just sitting at home chilling," Curry said of Chauvin. "I'll never get over the grace period that people get. Is it just me -- like you just said his rap sheet and how he's got complaints for all this -- like what I'm trying to say is, it's crazy how ingrained his perspective on life is and the abuse of power and all that stuff is happening and you see the camera literally 10 feet away from you and you don't have a facial reaction, you don't have any empathy, you don't have nothing. You just got your hands in your pockets. For me, I'd be acting different just knowing that I was on camera. He was so ingrained in his ways and that just speaks to how deep this conversation is that we've been fighting 400 years. That is just counter-intuitive to me knowing that I'm on camera and I know I'm wrong. But maybe you just don't know you're wrong."

There were protests all over the country this past weekend, from Minneapolis to Dallas and Oakland to New York City. While some protests turned violent, Curry acknowledged a number of police officers who didn't antagonize the protesters and instead chose to listen, speak up and walk with those seeking justice and change.

"Shoutout to all the police officers that I've seen speak up," Curry said. "Every single one of y'all, keep doing it. If you want change, it's the people right next to you that's going to do it. Shoutout to them because that takes some boldness to step out. I know they got that code and all this type of stuff. Appreciate them."

[RELATED: Poole: Calling out star white coaches, QBs fair game]

Curry is one of countless star athletes who used their platform to speak out in the wake of Floyd's death. That list includes Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Joe Burrow, Jaylen Brown, Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence and Odell Beckham Jr. Kerr, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and former NFL defensive end Chris Long all have asked more prominent white quarterbacks and coaches to use their platform.

Chauvin, a 19-year police officer, had 18 previous complaints in his file. 

The other three officers who were present when Chauvin killed Floyd have not. One of the officers, Tou Thao, had six previous complaints in his file. The other two did not have any previous complaints.

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