Conservative sports journalist Jason Whitlock has strong views regarding the recent unveilings of statues around the country honoring George Floyd. Floyd, a Black man, died in May 2020 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Though Floyd’s death sparked protests in all 50 states, including over a dozen other countries, Whitlock says, “the deification of George Floyd harms Black people and America.”
Earlier this week, two statues were erected in Floyd’s honor. A 700 pound one sits at Newark’s City Hall in New Jersey, and another 500-pound statue of Floyd’s head, made out of plywood, rests in Brooklyn, New York — though it was vandalized shortly after its presentation — bears a quote of rapper Papoose stating, “GEORGE FLOYD WAS HUNTED KNEES WERE USED TO PREY… IN LIFE WE SHOULD ONLY USE KNEES TO PRAY.”
However, Whitlock argued in an op-ed published on Tuesday, June 22, for The Blaze that Floyd “was a victim — of his drug addiction, self-destructive behavior, and Derek Chauvin’s misconduct.” He continued, “Floyd is not Jesus. He’s not Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, or Medgar Evers, black men who died tragically in service of promoting racial fairness. Floyd isn’t Crispus Attucks, the first man killed in America’s Revolutionary War. Floyd isn’t Emmett Till, an innocent victim of anti-black bigotry.”
The Indianapolis native contended that Floyd’s death was merely a marketing tool used by corporate media, “A pawn liberal politicians use to push policy, and a punching bag social activists use as a symbol to explain black people and promote themselves.” He reiterated his statement one line down, writing, “A prop, a pawn, and a punching bag.”
He later criticized the design of the statues while he simultaneously brought up Floyd’s history of drug use. “The statue in Newark has Floyd seated on a park bench wearing a ‘wifebeater’ shirt. I’m shocked the sculptor didn’t put a crack pipe in one hand and a 40-ounce of beer in the other,” Whitlock wrote before calling for the monuments to be taken down. “The statues of Floyd need to be torn down immediately. They’re racist. They’re designed to symbolize that America turns black men into lazy, criminal drug addicts.”
Whitlock was slammed almost instantly, with many accusing him of continually spewing contentious remarks just for the attention. “Same old spiel,” wrote one Twitter user. “Not getting enough views or hits so you go harp on a popular subject like Lebron or George Floyd… say some super c**n mess for a reaction.”
Another person commented, “So question for you right-wing lovers who agree with this article. If a statue of George Floyd is racist, then whats the Robert E Lee monument? Whats the confederate flag? Are those racist? Is the MLK statues a symbol of an adulterer? Curious to see who’s got a good answer.”
Whitlock didn’t appear to respond to the criticisms he received from his article. Instead, his timeline is filled with posts attacking other Black figures, including former basketball player Jay Williams and political activist and philosopher Angela Davis.