Kenyan Drake: Cardinals given day off for George Floyd memorial

Jun 4, 2020, 8:45 AM
Kenyan Drake #41 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for a game against the San Francisco 49ers at St...
Kenyan Drake #41 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for a game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 31, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals gave their players a day off Thursday, allowing their attention to focus on the first day of memorials for George Floyd, running back Kenyan Drake said on Twitter.

That, he said, was a welcome gesture to keep the conversation about racism toward black people and societal injustices progressing forward.

“Cardinals have granted us the day off from meetings to honor George Floyd’s memorial,” Drake wrote. “We are but a small cog in a big machine but gestures like these create dialogue and expands the vision to help take the next steps for a better tomorrow. Peace and love”

Since his May 25 death in the custody of police officers in Minneapolis, Floyd’s name has been chanted by hundreds of thousands of people peacefully protesting police brutality and racism.

Several Cardinals have been outspoken on social media since Floyd’s death.

“How many times will our leaders stand by and watch as our anger spills over into the streets to cause unnecessary havoc in our communities?” wrote cornerback Patrick Peterson. “Not for publicity, not for politics, not for personal interest. BUT FOR THE LIVES OF AMERICANS!???!!

“How can you expect us to come to any other conclusion than that we ARE NOT VALUED EQUALLY because of the color of our skin?? WE DEMAND CHANGE!”

Defensive tackle Corey Peters also spoke out, posting his message in a Twitter thread earlier in the week.

“The senseless murder of black people in this country, especially by police officers, should make everyone angry,” he said. “The overwhelming feeling I have on this travesty is sadness. Sadness that black people are being killed in the streets, sadness that peaceful protests are being hijacked by people looking to start trouble, sadness that many of my American brothers/sisters refuse to acknowledge what people of color deal with each and every day.”

The memorial services to honor Floyd begin Thursday in Minneapolis. They will continue in two other cities over six days, with a chance for mourners to honor him in the communities where he was born, grew up and died.

The organizers of the memorials want to acknowledge the meaning Floyd had in life to his large family and the broader meaning he has assumed in death, which happened after a white officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed a knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and three officers who arrested Floyd have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

The first service for Floyd will be Thursday afternoon at North Central University in Minneapolis. Floyd’s body will then go to Raeford, N.C., where he was born 46 years ago, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday.

Finally, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life. A 500-person service on Tuesday will take place at The Fountain of Praise church.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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