George Floyd Protests Drive Action From Ultimate Players, Teams

Sparking nationwide protests opposing police brutality and racism, outrage over the death of George Floyd has galvanized action across the ultimate community. Players, teams, and organizations have released public statements, marched in protests, and donated money to groups supporting justice reform and bail funds.

New York PoNY announced a matching donation program and raised $1500 over the weekend for Black Visions Collective, a black advocacy organization that has helped organize protests in Minneapolis, the site of Floyd’s death, and works on police reform in Minnesota, before announcing a second $1500 campaign last night:

Minneapolis’ men’s club team Sub Zero duplicated PoNY’s $1500 fundraiser after releasing a statement on Twitter.

“This weekend is more important than any tournament,” wrote the team. “Our community is hurting, our city is burning, and we fully support everyone involved in the initiative. We are going to be vocal. We are not going to be sorry for shoving this in your face. We only wish we had done it sooner.”

Other Minnesota-based teams have also released statements, including the University of Minnesota club teams, Minneapolis Drag’N Thrust, Carleton College’s club teams, the Premier Ultimate League’s Minnesota Strike, and the AUDL’s Minnesota Wind Chill:

 

Other teams from around the country have also released statements of support or shared resources for further education, including (but not limited to) Columbus Cocktails, Seattle Riot, the PUL’s Milwaukee Monarchs, Chicago Machine, and Oregon Fugue.

Since this morning, a tweet from the Sin The Fields podcast has helped raise over $5000 for bail funds:

USA Ultimate tweeted out a statement on Monday night:

The AUDL released a statement on their website and announced plans for Gabe Hernandez, the 2018 Callahan winner and Dallas Roughnecks player, to take over the league’s Instagram account.

“The American Ultimate Disc League stands firmly opposed to racism and oppression, and the systemic inequities and powers that perpetuate them,” the league wrote. “In alignment with the mission of the AUDL Inclusion Initiative we will take actions to support the necessary changes needed in our sport and community.”

Hernandez is one of many ultimate players that has been vocal online about combating racism. He’s written about ultimate’s predominantly white player base and tweeted yesterday about some of the reactions about his decision to kneel while singing the national anthem before the AUDL Championship game last summer:

Many other individual ultimate players have been advocating for systemic change or supporting protestors.

Atlanta Ozone’s Kayla Emrick is starting an anti-racist book club:

Denver Molly Brown’s Megan Ives, who works as a legislative aide for Colorado state representative Leslie Herod, wrote an article about her experience helping organize a peaceful protest that was interrupted by gunfire.

“Peaceful protests have been going on for centuries,” wrote Ives. “Black people have been begging for their lives and for justice for as long as anyone can remember. No one is listening.

“The protests escalate because it is not enough. The status quo is disgusting. The status quo is black lives lost. And we cannot wait another day for change. Why should we? How can we?”

Ives’ teammates Hannah Leathers and Claire Chastain were at the protests:

Atlanta Bucket’s Shanye Crawford, a founding member of the Atlanta Flying Disc Club’s Project Diversity, started a new organization, Disc Diversity, that just hosted its first discussion panel related to white supremacism in ultimate:

Disc Diversity

Dozens of other players have publicly shared that they’ve donated money to bail funds, justice reform causes, or other non-profit organizations.

Although protests around the country have generally been peaceful, this weekend saw some increasingly violent conflict between police and protestors, especially overnight. Cities across the United States have begun instituting curfews due to unrest and looting. Protests are expected to continue tonight after a private autopsy of Floyd found that he was killed by asphyxiation due to compression on his neck and back by police officers, which differed from the local government’s autopsy that said his underlying health conditions and potential intoxicants in his system contributed to his death.

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