On May 25, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minn. With an officer's knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Floyd pleaded for help and stated that he couldn't breathe. In the two weeks since that horrific event, charges have been filed against the officers involved and protests have been held in cities across the United States.
The past two weeks have also seen protests against police brutality and systemic racism spread across the globe, affording communities all over the world (including the streets of Rome) a chance to reflect not only on the proper role of policing but the extent to which this systemic racism affects the daily lives of Black people and People of Color.
Given the scope of the protests and the conversations happening at all levels of government, it feels like we're at an inflection point; a time for reflection and true systemic change. What this is not, however, is a time to trivialize George Floyd's final moments.
Earlier today, while discussing Roma's payroll situation, the Gazzetta dello Sport did just that: (Screen courtesy of @amicus_arcane)
In a series of analogies that included President Obama's “Yes We Can” motto, the Gazzetta slipped in this reference to George Floyd:
How long can a dream last? History does not give certainties. In 2011, for example, in the White House there was a president who had the slogan: “Yes, we can”, in 2020 there is another who raises a barrier in front of the Capitol in Washington to not listen to another slogan: “Black lives matter”. Obama and Trump, opponents and associates, all have their own dream, often very divisive.
Here, in these nine years the world has also changed in Rome, which seems to have passed - footballing speaking - from “we can” to “I can’t breathe”, the phrase that George Floyd’s death has imposed on the agenda of the world. Yes, because because of the increasingly steep accounts, the Giallorossi club can no longer breathe.
We've certainly seen the editorial practices of major media outlets called into question in recent days, but how anyone thought this grotesque analogy was appropriate defies logic and basic decency. To think that George Floyd's death, which has prompted protests all over the world, should be compared to something as trivial as the salary structure of a football club is reprehensible.
It didn't take long for this analogy to go viral, but to date the Gazzetta has not issued any public statement.