UFC fighters Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, who have already met in the Octagon, sparred on Twitter after Covington posted his anti-protest view of NBA and MLB players walking out of potential games this week.
Those protests came after the police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake and marked a new level of athlete activism in response to racial disparities in the U.S.
« Oh wow, you postponed your games?! » Covington tweeted. « Wanna prove you’re really about change? Quit your multi million dollar jobs and soft privileged lives playing a kids game, take a massive pay cut and perform the toughest job in America. Become cops!!!! »
Responded Usman, who is Black: « I really wish someone would just break your jaw already. » Usman cracked Covington’s jaw in their UFC meeting last December.
In the months before the shooting of Blake, athletes had spoken out about racial issues by kneeling during the national anthem, posting to social media and attending the protests that swept through the nation following the separate shootings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Their approach changed when Blake was paralyzed by seven bullets in his back. Wanting to make a stronger statement and underline their priorities, Bucks players started a wave of walkouts Thursday night that began in the NBA playoffs and extended to MLB.
As has been the case every time athletes have called attention to racism in America, critics emerged en masse telling them they’re protesting the wrong way without offering support of the movement.
In addition to quote-tweeting Covington, Usman posted an eight-minute video to Instagram expanding on his thoughts about racial injustice.
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