Hamilton won’t follow US sports teams’ boycott movement
Lewis Hamilton has no intention of following a boycott trend that has taken hold among sports teams in the US following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Blake – a 29-year-old Black man – multiple times in the back on Sunday, the incident sparking protests in multiple US states.
The Milwaukee Bucks NBA tea chose to boycott Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic in protest of the shooting, a decision that created a ripple effect throughout the sports world, with the NBA cancelling all of yesterday’s games, and athletes and teams from other sports leagues following suit.
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Tennis player Naomi Osaka protested the shooting by pulling out of a major tournament in New York, a love praised by Hamilton on Instagram.
Yet the Mercedes driver will not emulate fellow athletes in the US by refusing to race this weekend at Spa.
“It’s incredible what many out there in the States are doing within their sports, all the way down to the people that are hosting, the commentators for example,” Hamilton said.
“So many people are standing with the players, and really pushing for change. It’s a shame that’s what is needed over there in order to get a reaction.
“But that is in America, and I don’t know if really me doing anything here will particularly have any effect. We’re in Belgium, we’re not in the United States.
“I haven’t spoken to anybody about it, but I am really proud of so many out there. I do stand unified with them, trying to do what I can over here.
“I don’t know how us not doing the race… it will still go on, it’s a thing. But I’ll still try and speak to Formula 1 to see what else we can do, to continue to raise awareness, continue to help push.
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“Naturally I think as a sport, I think we all need to be aligned. We all need to be supporting one another, even though it is a different sport.”
Sebastian Vettel, who has supported Hamilton’s anti-racism activism in F1, shared the Briton’s view about the limited impact a protest would have outside of America.
“The measures that have been taken in the US with some players boycotting or going on strike, not going out for the games and therefore the games having to be postponed, I think maybe they are more US-specific,” Vettel said.
“From where we are, we seem to be quite happy as drivers of our actions, and want to keep sending that message.
“Having said that, we know that it doesn’t change things overnight, and it’s only a very small contribution. But hopefully everybody that’s tuned in and sees it gets the point and gets the message, and takes a bit of that for the next steps that he faces in life.
“One thing is to take action in public. I think more importantly, it’s what everyone is deciding or how everyone is acting or confronting it once the cameras are off.
“That’s true for us, being in a spotlight in a certain amount during a weekend, but also valid for everyone else.”
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