3:46 PM ET

  • Ben BabyESPN Staff Writer


    • ESPN Staff Writer
    • Previously a college football writer for The Dallas Morning News
    • University of North Texas graduate

Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow said the “black community needs our help” in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis.

“They have been unheard for far too long,” Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick, said Friday on Twitter. “Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.”

The comments came after a night of outrage and unrest in Minneapolis, where Floyd, who is black, died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

Chauvin was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, local authorities announced.

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who is one of four minority coaches in the 32-team NFL, issued a statement on Friday in the aftermath of several high-profile deaths of black people.

“Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling [during the national anthem] or on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women,” Flores said. “I think many of them quietly say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it’s said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting that opinion clearly is not important enough.

“I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world. My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change.”

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane, who is in his 11th season in the NHL and has been one of its most vocal critics regarding racism in the sport, said on ESPN’s First Take that he hasn’t seen much public comment from NHL players about Floyd’s death or the aftermath in Minneapolis.

“We need so many more athletes that don’t look like me speaking out about this, having the same amount of outrage I have inside, and using that to voice their opinion, to voice their frustration, because that’s the only way it’s going to change,” Kane said Friday. “We’ve been outraged for hundreds of years and nothing’s changed.

“It’s time for guys like Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby and those type of figures to speak up about what is right and what, in this case, is unbelievably wrong. That’s the only way we’re going to create that unified anger to create that necessary change, especially when you talk about systematic racism.”

Kane said last year that bigotry is “easier to ignore, dismiss and forget” because “let’s face the facts: Hockey is a white sport.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, issued a statement saying everybody has a responsibility to “help end horrible situations and outcomes like this.”

“Our collective humanity suffers greatly in the midst of senseless acts like this. Not just now, but always,” the Cavs’ statement said. “… Let’s all respond with a sense of urgency and deeper determination to make life better and work towards a world where everyone feels safe.”

Other prominent figures throughout the sports landscape commented on Friday.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he was “disgusted, mad and broken-hearted” about what happened to Floyd.

“Anytime someone loses their life it’s a terrible thing especially when it could’ve been prevented,” Carr said in a post on Twitter. “My opinions won’t make a difference on how that should’ve been handled better, but I do think my platform can be used to help. I don’t know what it’s like to have a different skin color so I won’t pretend to know.”

Orlando Pride forward and U.S. Soccer national team member Alex Morgan said she was “sickened beyond words” by Floyd’s death.

Tennis players Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff and champion boxer Claressa Shields also shared their thoughts on the recent events.

So sickened beyond words by the brutal police killing of George Floyd. When will all Americans be treated and respected equally regardless of race and gender?? We are yearning for true leadership and inclusivity from the top.

— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) May 29, 2020

Praying for all of those like #GeorgeFloyd and their loved ones who have been impacted by police brutality and these senseless, violent crimes. This is heartbreaking and disgusting to continuously see. This cannot continue and we have ALL do our part here. pic.twitter.com/BfSRyrn4wp

— sloanestephens (@SloaneStephens) May 29, 2020

#blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/WEZEmtHH8k

— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) May 29, 2020

Now lets see justice served, and the other officers who stood there need to be held accountable too! https://t.co/JWJ3xtDhmQ

— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) May 29, 2020

“The world will never grow until we are comfortable having the uncomfortable talks and taking action upon them,” Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal said.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence called for a shift in thinking and a need to end injustice.

There has to be a shift in the way of thinking. Rational must outweigh irrational. Justice must outweigh injustice. Love must outweigh hate.

If you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and you don’t like how it feels-that’s when you know things need to change.

— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) May 29, 2020

Added Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman: “We are not free until we are free.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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