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How rugby players reacted to Black Lives Matter protests

By Josh Raisey
The statue of Churchill was épicentre for protest in London. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Rugby players across the world have joined in or shown their support for the international human rights movement Black Lives Matter. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of many cities around the world over the weekend as part of the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of American George Floyd.


The 46-year-old was suffocated while being arrested in Minneapolis on May 25th, sparking human rights protests in the United States against police brutality and systemic racism.

Players have used their profile to show their support for the movement on social media, with a range of reactions. Some have also not been afraid to address contentious topics during the protests in the United Kingdom, particularly with regards to a few situations in what were predominantly peaceful protests across the country.

Jamal Ford-Robinson, who was named the Gallagher Premiership Community Player of the Month in March for his social media activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, recently told anyone who had a problem with the uprooting of a statue of Edward Colston in Bristol to block him. Colston was a 17th century slave trader, and there have been campaigns for years to have the statue removed.

Other figures joined the rally virtually, through Zoom, Facebook Live and Instagram, as there are still ongoing complications relating to the pandemic.

Rugby is of course not alone in its support, and many other sportspeople such as Raheem Sterling and Anthony Joshua have been vocal as well.

The success of the social media movement Blackout Tuesday (#blackouttuesday) last week was an indication of the solidarity in the game, but these unprecedented protests are obviously a greater sign of the weight of the movement. This is something that is going to grow in significance globally and in the rugby sphere, and players are using their platform constructively.

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“I am a black man… I build… I don’t tear down other black men!… I have felt the pain of being torn down and I have decided I will be deliberate about building others! If I didn’t tag you, please don’t be offended. I tried to pick people I thought would do this challenge!! All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around let’s do something positive!! Upload one picture of yourself… only you. Then tag as many brothers to do the same. Let’s build each other up, instead of tearing ourselves down.” ******************************************************Don’t use this opportunity to not educate yourself and others on how you can do more and be better. Keep it ?

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?? #blacklivesmatter

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I wanted to find the right quote from Doctor King. And then I wondered what it means to invoke the words of a dead black man from within this white body. Within this white house, this white community, this white nation state. Like the smallest white babushka doll nesting in all those layers of protective whiteness, trying to lay claim to the words of a man slain in a fight for his own humanity amidst the violent supremacy of whiteness. . – @emmaawpocock It's easier to look at what's happening in the US and shake our heads than to face up to what's happening right here in Australia. Amazing to see how many people are posted for #blackouttuesday – we know that a better world is possible. But only if we're willing to get uncomfortable and build it. Along with so many other lessons, moments like this highlight how badly we need people representing us who actually want to help us build that better world. Use the moment. Get uncomfortable. Have some conversations. Write to your local MP. Support organisations and people doing good work – link in my bio for a list of groups you could support. Graphics credit: @theartofjordan

A post shared by ????? ????? ????? ?????? (@davidpocock) on

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The scripture verse below is one that my parents taught my brother and I. They lived it everyday and you could see it clearly in the way they approached life, the way they treated each other, the way they treated family and friends and even the way they treated people who you would consider to be strangers. From a young age it has been one of my Life Aspirations to be like them, as they have set the standard. There has been many times when I have fallen short and I must strive to BE BETTER! PHILIPPIANS 2:4 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” I am a BLACK MAN!… I BUILD… I don’t tear down other BLACK MEN OR BLACK WOMEN! I have felt the PAIN of being TORN DOWN and I have decided that I will be deliberate about building up others. All too often, we MEN find it easier to criticize each other, instead of building each other up. Upload a picture of yourself….only you…then tag as many brothers to do the same. Let’s build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down. ?If I tagged you, don’t disappoint me ?

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