On Wednesday night, Georgetown’s basketball team became the first college players to protest the rulings in the Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases by wearing shirts emblazoned with the words ‘I Can’t Breathe’.
Those were the words that Garner, a Staten Island man, could be heard saying as he was killed when a police officer put him in a chokehold earlier this year. The officer was not indicted.
Georgetown was not the first basketball players to make public protest, however, as two Oregon players stood in the ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ pose through the national anthem. The pose has emerged from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown and the decision of the grand jury not to indict the officer.
The players — Dwayne Benjamin and Jordan Bell — did not disclose their intentions to head coach Dana Altman before hand, which Altman was not pleased about.
“I think every player has a right to express their opinion, however I didn’t think that was the time and place for it,” Altman said, according to the Oregonian. “On their own as individuals, they have that right. As part of our basketball team, when you put the Oregon jersey on, it’s a little different. So, I think there’s a time and place for everything. I don’t think that was the appropriate time.”