Several figures within the sports world have reacted after Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges of the murder of two protestors during ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests in Wisconsin last year.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he shot three people – two of whom died – during civil unrest inspired by the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha in August 2020, prompting reactions from several US-based athletes and coaches, some of whom had openly demonstrated in the wake of Blake’s death last year.
Rittenhouse was staring down five felonies, including first-degree intentional homicide, with his legal team arguing that the teenager had acted entirely in self-defense while the prosecution alleged that he was responsible for the situation which led to the deaths of two protestors.
Blake’s shooting, which left him partially paralyzed, led to furore in the sports world – with protests being particularly felt in the NBA as players and the league chose to skip a scheduled game day.
And following Friday’s verdict, several players from within the NBA and elsewhere reacted angrily to the decision of the jury and questioned if the law would have been similarly applied had Rittenhouse been a black man.
I bet the judge will be the first to take Kyle Rittenhouse for dinner to celebrate all that he’s accomplished this past year 😐 insane how much our judicial system varies based on physical traits of the defendant. Disappointed but not surprised.
— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) November 19, 2021
not surprised at all , smh …
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) November 19, 2021
Guess the forced tears worked..
— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 19, 2021
“I bet the judge will be the first to take Kyle Rittenhouse for dinner to celebrate all that he’s accomplished this past year,” wrote Briana Turner, of WNBA team Phoenix Mercury.
“Insane how much our judicial system varies based on physical traits of the defendant. Disappointed but not surprised.”
“Not surprised at all,” added Ja Morant, of the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Guess the forced tears worked,” said former NBA player turned commentator Jamal Crawford, highlighting the claims some made of Rittenhouse’s supposed ‘crocodile tears’ on the stand – which had previously been called out by LeBron James.
Ha, let the boy be black and it would’ve been life…hell he would’ve had his life taken before the bullshit trial.. sad
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) November 19, 2021
Kyle Rittennhouse can kill without a sliver of doubt & walk free but Julius Jones is in jail for life without the chance for parole after being on death row for 20 years with all types of doubt in his case. What is Justice? God help us.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) November 19, 2021
Not like that but like that you can be white and get away with anything!!! I’m scared for my life and my kids life.. But African Americans is locked up for life for shit they didn’t do!!! Damnit man!!!!What about those peoples families?? No justice for anything? Fuck that judge
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) November 19, 2021
“Ha, let the boy be black and it would’ve been life… hell, he would’ve had his life taken before the bullsh*t trial. Sad,” wrote Bubba Wallace, the African-American NASCAR driver who was at the center of racist storm in the summer of 2020 after he alleged that he had discovered a ‘noose’ inside his team garage ahead of a race.
“Kyle Rittennhouse can kill without a sliver of doubt and walk free but Julius Jones is in jail for life without the chance for parole after being on death row for 20 years with all types of doubt in his case. What is Justice? God help us,” added NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III, referencing the case of Julius Jones, a man who was convicted at 19 of a crime he says he didn’t commit and whose death sentence was recently commuted by the Governor of Oklahoma.
“Not like that, but like that you can be white and get away with anything,” added two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas.
“I’m scared for my life and my kids’ life. But African-Americans are locked up for life for sh*t they didn’t do. Damnit, man. What about those peoples’ families?? No justice for anything? F*ck that judge.”
Can't say I'm surprised…
— Elizabeth Williams (@E_Williams_1) November 19, 2021
“Can’t say I’m surprised,” was the reaction of WNBA star Elizabeth Williams.
“We talked about [the verdict] a little bit as a team,” added Milwaukee Bucks player Khris Middleton. The Bucks were central to the protests against Blake’s shooting by police last year.
“Speaking for myself, it was definitely disappointing but, at the same time, it really wasn’t surprising about the verdict.
“I watched [the trial] a little bit and was able to keep up with it, but it’s something that I think we’ve all seen over and over again.”
Middleton’s reaction was met with agreement by often-outspoken Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who put forth a stark warning via ESPN: “The fact that we are seemingly OK with a teenager’s right to take an AR-15 into an area where there is civil unrest, that’s really scary and concerning.
“This is where we are with gun laws. This is why we have to have safer gun laws in place to protect ourselves, to protect each other.
“It wasn’t a shocking verdict, but one that poses great risk going forward if we continue to go down this path of open carry and states determining that people that people can carry, even underage people, weapons of war. This is America. Treading down a dangerous path.”