EA Sports is postponing its Madden NFL 21 celebration as game makers, esports organizations, content creators, and players show support for the Black community as protests and civil unrest erupt in major metropolitan areas across the United States. The protests are in response to the death of George Floyd, who died last week while in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers. The incident was captured on video and shared on social media, sparking outrage nationwide.
— Riot Games (@riotgames) May 31, 2020
EA Sports said in a statement on Sunday that it would postpone the Madden NFL 21 unveiling to instead focus on what is more important right now.
“We stand with our African American/Black community of friends, players, colleagues, and partners. Our immediate attention is on actions we can take to drive change against unjust treatment and systematic bias that is plaguing the nation and our world,” the statement read in part.
Streaming platform Twitch said in a statement that its community can’t celebrate the contributions of the Black community on its platform while ignoring what is going on in the country.
“Black people have been suffering under the oppressive weight of racism in America for far too long, We cannot delight in the creative contributions of the Black community on Twitch and remain silent while they are in pain,” the statement read. “We’re asking you to come together and stand up for Black lives whether it’s through your time, treasure, or talent. Don’t let today’s injustice stop us from creating a better tomorrow for our community.”
Nine out of the 10 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) teams issued statements in support of the Black community, including 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Dignitas, Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, Immortals, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid.
Call of Duty League team Minnesota R0KKR, who hosted the first games of the CDL 2020 season in late January at the Minneapolis Armory, issued the following statement:
— Minnesota RØKKR (@ROKKR) May 28, 2020
Finally, content creators and pro players such as Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, Eric “ESAM” Lew, Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, Ben “Dr Lupo” Lupo, Tim “Timthetatman” Betar, and Tyler “Ninja” Blevins showed support for the Black community with statements of support.
Be. An. Ally!
— RissaRosay (@RissaRosay) May 30, 2020
Floyd’s death came to light when a video of four officers restraining him, captured by a witness, went viral. The video shows one officer with his knee on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd, who can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.” As the video goes on Floyd stops responding.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is seen in the video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and formally charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Besides protesting the general misconduct and use of excessive force by police against persons of color, protesters are angry that three other officers seen in the video have not been charged and that Chauvin was not charged with first-degree murder.
Trent Murray contributed to this story.
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