Legendary golfer Tiger Woods spoke out Monday night regarding George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody last week, calling for the public to engage in constructive dialogue and peaceful demonstrations as protests sweep cities across the country.
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“My heart goes out to George Floyd, his loved ones and all of us who are hurting right now,” Woods said in a statement. “I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement. They train so diligently to understand how, when and where to use force. This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line.”
“I remember the LA riots and learned that education is the best path forward,” Woods added. “We can make our points without burning the very neighborhoods that we live in. I hope that through construction, honest conversations we can build a safer, united society.”
Floyd, 46, died last week during an altercation with police officers who responded to a call that a counterfeit bill was used at a nearby grocery store. A bystander video showed a white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for several minutes prior to his death. Three other officers also responded to the call and stood nearby.
Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide on Monday night. The four officers directly involved in the incident were fired. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Protests against police brutality have been largely peaceful. However, demonstrations have turned violent in some cases, with instances of looting and altercations with police.
Woods is the latest of several sports figures to call for reform following Floyd’s death. Michael Jordan said Sunday that he was “deeply saddened” by the situation.
Jordan called for demonstrators to “continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability” in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Woods and Jordan are among Nike's most prominent athlete endorsers. The sports apparel giant has also mourned Floyd's death and called for reform in a series of social media posts.