Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence: Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc on George Floyd death

Formula One drivers are among the many in the sporting fraternity to speak out against the killing of American citizen George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a white US police officer knelt on his neck.

Video footage showed a white police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd, 46, for nearly 9 minutes before he died.

Derek Chauvin, the since-fired 44-year-old police officer involved in the incident, has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was released on $500,000 bail and is due to appear in court on June 8, according to jail records.

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was the first to speak on the issue as he slammed F1 for its silence on the incident which has triggered unrest and the imposition of curfews in dozens of cities across the United States, while in London a demonstration was held in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement..

“I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” wrote the Mercedes driver.

“Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone,” he added.

“I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you … are and I see you.”

Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Lando Norris have also released their statements on social media.

“To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation and this is why I haven’t expressed myself earlier than today.

“And I was completely wrong. I still struggle to find the words to describe the atrocity of some videos I’ve seen on (the) Internet. Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence. Please be actively participating, engaging and encouraging others to spread awareness.

“It is our responsibility to speak out against injustice. Don’t be silent. I stand #BlackLivesMatters,” Leclerc wrote.

Renault driver Ricciardo, who will cross to McLaren at the end of the season, said Floyd’s death was “a disgrace” and called for unity against racism.

“Racism is toxic and needs to be addressed not with violence or silence but with unity and action,” the Australian wrote on Instagram.

Norris added: “I have fans and followers. Support and love. And I have power through this to lead and inspire so many. But we also stand for what’s right. This time I ask you to do something and take action. #BlackLivesMatters.”

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