Romain Grosjean, Haas, Silverstone, 2020

Grosjean: Up to eight F1 drivers did not want to repeat same ‘end racism’ ceremony

2020 British Grand Prix

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Romain Grosjean says he has cleared the air with Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver accused him of failing to support efforts to arrange an anti-racism ceremony before the Hungarian Grand Prix.

After the last race Hamilton told reporters Grosjean had not supported efforts to repeat the anti-racism protest which was seen at the first race of the season. “He’s one of them that thinks it was done once and that’s all we need to do,” said Hamilton.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference, Grosjean said seven or eight drivers did not want to repeat the same ceremony which was held before the first race of the season in Austria. He said he put their views across at a meeting of the Grand Prix Drivers Association. Grosjean, a GPDA director, said on reflection “it was probably the wrong thing to do”.

Hamilton and Grosjean spoke for 45 minutes on the Tuesday after the race. “I explained to Lewis that maybe I did it wrong, maybe I did it right, I don’t know,” said Grosjean. “It felt right at the time that we are two directors in the GPDA and we had, I’ll say, seven or eight drivers that were not happy to carry on the ceremony as it was done – I don’t know if it’s name is ‘ceremony’ – but as it was done in race one in in Austria.

“I said to Lewis, look, maybe I did it wrong, but I felt that as one of the directors, because Sebastian [Vettel] was pushing on in the direction of carrying on ‘end racism’, which is the right approach, I was speaking for the drivers that were not happy to carry on to express their voice as the director of the GPDA.

“Now, thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do. Lewis had some good arguments, I had some also but I think it was the wrong thing to do.”

Further discussions involving GPDA chairman Alexander Wurz and its lawyer with FIA president Jean Todt and Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey have been held since the last race to decide on the future of the ‘end racism’ gestures which have been made before every grand prix so far this year.

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“Later in the week, Alexander Wurz and myself and Anastasia from the GPDA, we had another conf[erence] call with Jean Todt and Chase Carey and making sure that we do things in the right way,” said Grosjean. “It’s hard for us drivers to organise things over an event because we’ve got many things to look at.

“So we wanted more guidance from Liberty and a clear procedure before the race, as we did in Austria race one. And I think that’s going to happen and that’s going to be more clear for all of us to know exactly what to do.”

However Grosjean made it clear to Hamilton he was unhappy about the comments he gave to the media stating the Haas driver “doesn’t think it’s important” to hold anti-racism demonstrations at each race. “I said I wasn’t very happy that in the media it came out.

“On my social media [there’s been a] lot of things about racism and that I’m a racist or whatever, which is absolutely wrong. I don’t think you will find anyone on the world saying that I started something wrong in that aspect. So I wasn’t very happy about about being treated that way.

“I was one of the first ones to support and to push to that we take the knee. I’m still hopeful that one day we get 20 drivers to take the knee on the grid and that it will happen at one point. But we need to keep the education, keep pushing the guys and telling them that this is a sportsman gesture and a way to support a cause and something that shouldn’t exist.”

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Dieter Rencken
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75 comments on “Grosjean: Up to eight F1 drivers did not want to repeat same ‘end racism’ ceremony”

  1. Not sure what the majority thinks but I am kind of getting tired of this now. I respect the intention behind it but taking a knee and criticizing the ones who didn’t, doesn’t serve the purpose. Many of these drivers have great influencing power and a better solution is to use that power to send a message to corporations and society at large on anti-racism and promoting equality.

    I am sorry but it doesn’t feel like a very deep-rooted effort and just criticizing someone for not taking a knee is now getting tiresome.

    1. It does not matter to me to see them take a knee or not. What matters to me is the fact that many drivers were late for the ceremony, which has been part of their routine on every Sunday since they have been in the sport. It looked silly, and F1 should sort this out. Everyone has to be on the same page.

      1. Why should everyone be on the same page? It is hugely authoritarian to demand the same behavior on political issues from everyone.

        1. Everyone should be on the same page so that we get a clear and organised event @aapje. Regardless of how exactly it will be, what they will or won’t be doing, if some drivers are there early and kneel, some come walking up right on time to kneel, only to then get up for the anthem, a few come just at the cusp of the start of the anthem, a few are late for the anthem and some don’t even turn up for the anthem, that is just clearly a big mess. As @krichelle mentions this just looked silly and unworthy of a highly organised sport.

          1. @bascb

            Sure, I agree with that. But that doesn’t mean that all drivers should be forced or pressured to kneel.

          2. Nobody in the sport, nor in the comments supporting the sport in their bid for diversity even thought about forcing anyone to do that @aapje. The only ones who brought something like that up are those like you who are trying to suggest anyone is pressured to do that.

    2. If your getting tired of it now, then the message is pushing through! It’s like 30 seconds an hour before a race, drivers giving their view on ending racism, because public figures can help. And you are getting tired of it? Are you a human being? Get informed.

      1. The message is indeed pushing through how intolerant and authoritarian woke people are & how much of a threat to a free society they are.

        1. @aapje What free society are you talking about? No one of us are truly free until all of us are given the chance to be free. Those who sleepwalk through life without caring about others are by far the the biggest threat to society.

          1. Yet the woke want to discriminate against people in hiring and such, so people will be far from free with them in charge. The very same kind of discrimination that was once used against Jews in the US, is now done against Asians. The woke are also against free speech, with many people already censoring themselves out of fear.

            In the end, those who make sacrifices and prosper in some ways (although often at a cost in other ways), have to be punished. That’s not freedom.

      2. I’m tired of the meaningless gestures like taking a knee. The discussion should be about racism and ways to end it – not whether someone kneels down before a race or not. If anything, I haven’t heard enough about what actually matters!

        The message that is pushing through seems to be that if you kneel down – you are good. If you don’t you are racist…. That’s not teaching anyone anything, it’s not going to reduce racism and it’s not going to solve any problems.

      3. To end racism three things need to happen. First we need to get rid of racist tendencies in people who are not racist but maybe are unaware of certain habits or views they hold. This is achieved with education and facts. Then we need to guarantee that the young people and children get education that gives them facts and experiences about this issue so they don’t grow up into racists because of ignorance. And the third one is that we must convert each and every racist person into non-racist person. Again the best way to do this is with facts and education.

        In that last example the social media and the cancel culture is failing really hard. Instead of allowing people back who have done wrong and changed their behaviour there is a tendency to try to exclude them outside of the society for ever. To end racism these are the people need the most because they can talk to the people who haven’t yet changed their minds. If you assault people’s opinions the harder they resist. But if you give them questions they can’t answer, give them facts they did not know and give them experiences they never had they will work it out. This probably won’t get through the censor here but here it goes anyways…

        1. Absolutely agree! But the thing is that (certainly in schools) education exists and you’ll (not you personally) find that the pupils who are racist are often those who are late for lessons, talk back to the teacher, have a careless attitude, are disrespectful, never do their homework, basically they fit the same profile as bullies. I’ve not had any racism towards me thankfully but I’ve had plenty of hate speech towards my disability, and that same profile of people are the culprits. You can’t reach these students to respect anyone really I’ve found. It’s always the scum of society which falls into these types of things. And of course when you’re called such things you dwell on it but then you learn that people aren’t really like that, you learn that people value you despite your disability and thankfully having supportive parents and family really helps. Then you learn to ignore them and not let them get you down.

          Anyway I digress. My point was that the scum of society will always be racist. It’s our job to try to educate as much as possible but we have to be realistic. It’s like saying we want to end all killing in the country. Killing is worse than racism. But it’s not a realistic goal. The scum of society kill despite their education. Setting out goals to decrease racism substantially so that those who are not inherently racist stop and think about their words if they’re about to utter something which is a racist term or assumption is a good step. Turning racists into non racists is much harder. But we should still try

      4. A 30 second gesture is ending racism? Who knew it was that simple.

        Seriously though, I doubt any actual racists watching are going to change their minds after watching this. It was nice to see at first, but now it just seems like corporate virtue signaling to me.

    3. Agree. Kneeling, or getting back up takes effort for me. Not a real sacrifice on the part of a professional athlete.

      Spot on in everything you say here. This is a lot of show and very little substance. Check the box. Everyone is aware. Now what? Important questions remain unanswered. What real, measurable, meaningful and sustainable change do you want to see in the next year or two? And how are you going to use your millions of dollars and not just your celebrity to affect that change. Using the sport that you benefit from merely as an awareness platform creates the sound of a dull thud after the second, third and fifteenth time.

  2. I know it will look more powerful if they were all to take a knee but I don’t think Kvyat will as taking a knee means something different in his home country. This doesn’t mean he is racist at all so all this pressure around “everyone” taking a knee is wrong. It should be a personal choice if you want to take a knee or not but I do think they should organise the pre race ceremony better.

  3. How long will this goes on? Untill Lewis says it’s enough?
    And what if another driver wants to protest against the human rights situation in China? Can he do that too before the race, and will Lewis join him, for all races to come?
    And driver number three who wants to get some attention for the killing of farmers in South-Africa, does he get a podium too? And will Lewis join him on that one too?
    Can we have twenty different protests before the race? Is that what we want?

  4. At some point there will be an “Anti Bullying Movement” introduced.
    Then, if we can combine the two “ceremonies”, everyone can justify taking a knee and the problem will be solved.

    1. People are already being bullied into taking the knee, so the current ceremony already combines the two.

      1. People are taking a knee because some folks are literally being bullied to death. Look at the bigger picture.

  5. Well obviously the message is not getting through as the knee or not is a secondary issue. The main issue involving GPDA, Vettel, Hamilton and Grosjean was whether the ‘ceremony’ itself should continue. It seems now it will.
    Not forgetting that most of these issues have been pushed by the media who have their own agenda. Sky Sport in particular seems to believe that somehow they are the guardians of the BLM movement with their constant ads, videos, discussions and lectures on the subject.
    I think its a great idea personally as long as it runs directly before or after the anthems. Gives me more time to get my cuppa and snacks before I settle down for the race

    1. Broccoliface
      30th July 2020, 16:08

      I think Simon Lazenby’s wife’s boyfriend is making him bring it up every three minutes.

    2. Absolutely. The media and especially social media is so powerful it can control people’s beliefs and shift focus and attention around as it wishes. Just think, where was the backlash against racism before floyd died? Racism was still an issue then as it is now

  6. Maybe the drivers should just focus on driving and not worry about being judged for what they do and don’t do. “Oh whats that? you’re racist for not taking part in the contrived political movement”

    What a joke

  7. If Hamilton feels so strongly about it, maybe he should take the knee when he (inevitably) takes the top step of the podium again.

    It’s supposed to be an act of defiance, of protest, for a strongly held conviction. Not a forced gesture of virtue signalling.

  8. It is sad that so much hate by members is being given towards a positive community anti racism message being promoted by their favorite drivers. More attention is given to this 30 second pre race gesture than whole gp races by Racist or simply ignorant racing fans.

    1. @kpcart

      As usual, you are the one being hateful by calling people racists who merely voice criticisms and don’t call other people names.

      1. Not all are racist, @aapje, some are simply ignorant as @kpcart wrote.

        1. Basically the BLM argument wrapped up in a post, if you are not with us you ignorant or racist.
          Jeesh, i wonder why the message is falling on deaf ears..

          1. “so much hate ”
            Is that a daily talking point for the collective ?
            You see it whenever someone disagrees with them, doesn’t matter what the topic is.
            Isn’t hate a word mostly used by small children?

          2. Ignorance is often the result of not reading well and jumping to conclusions, SadF1fan.
            Neither @kpcart, nor I, referred to BLM.
            We are surprised though about the amount of vocal and emotional objections to the ‘30 sec gesture’. Based on the comments I can only conclude that these people are ignorant and/or racist.

            Feel free to point out a well-argued comment explaining why anti racism gestures are a bad initiative.

          3. 45 minute phone call, jeez..

            And even if Grosjean is representing the 40% drivers who want this to stop and is offended by Hamilton’s public shaming of him like he says, he is still pushing the agenda which is incredible.

          4. @SadF1fan How can anyone who disagrees with the sentiment that black lives matter not be either ignorant or a racist? Maybe just plain old misanthropic? I would seriously appreciate a rational answer. I cannot understand why people are getting so defensive about treating all people equally. Why even participate in society if one can’t be bothered to treat others as one wants to be treated one’s self?

          5. @ferrox-glideh

            The implicit sentiment of BLM is not merely that black lives matter. If it was, people who said that all lives matter or white lives matter wouldn’t be attacked or even cancelled. Because how can any who disagrees with the sentiment that white lives matter not be either ignorant or a racist? Or how can any who disagrees with all lives matter not be plain old misanthropic?

            Yet of course, you’ll never accept the claim that people who disagree with white lives matter or all lives matter are racist or misanthropic, right?

            Social Justice in general is filled with dishonest word games, intended to win debates through sophistry, rather than with a discussion on the facts…because the facts don’t support a literal black/white point of view.

          6. Hi @aapje

            As you point out, the phrases ‘all lives matter’ or ‘white lives matter’ are not problematic in and of themselves, statements I think you’ll find most people will happily agree with. The problem is the way they’re used, as a reaction to BLM and to downplay the issues that were the catalyst for the BLM movement.

            In the same way, the phrase ‘All grandmothers matter’ is in no way controversial, however if you come to me and tell me your grandmother is very ill and my response to you is ‘Lots of people have ill grandmothers, all grandmothers matter, why are you harping on about yours?’ then quite frankly I’m a jerk. And it’s clear that I’m not really trying to highlight the plight of all ill grandmothers (a worthy cause), I’m merely using it to dismiss your feelings and downplay your concerns.

            The correct response to “My grandmother is ill” is not “All grandmothers matter” it’s “I’m so sorry to hear that, is there anything I can do to help”. The correct response to “Black Lives Matter” is not “All Lives Matter” it’s listening and engaging with the issues and trying to help, even if it’s just to show compassion and support.

            As with ill grandmothers, we can’t always do something to solve the problem personally, but showing a little compassion and support can go a long way. That doesn’t mean it’s a useless gesture.

          7. @puffy

            My objection is that the issues that are placed at the center of the discussion, often involve falsehoods. For example, it’s common for BLM protesters to shout “hands up, don’t shoot,” which is a false narrative about a fully justified shooting of a black person who attacked a police officer & never had his hands up.

            I refuse to merely listen while being told lies and then being expected to act as if those lies were true.

            Also, I refuse to accept outright racist statements or policies that some consider fully justified because they target people that are being stereotyped as being privileged based on the color of their skin.

            Responding to lies and hatred with ‘compassion,’ just fuels this ressentiment. It ultimately doesn’t make people happier, because studies show that increases focus on racism causes black people to feel as if they experience more racism. It also causes irrational fears. So these lies are actually hurting black people.

  9. Can we bring back pit girls now?

  10. CaribbeanGuy
    30th July 2020, 16:24

    oh dear, so supporting this kind of things is mandatory, i feel all the things surrounding this subject is becoming dictatorial and thats very dangerous… very nice route humanity is taking

    1. kevin citron
      30th July 2020, 18:11

      totalitarian tendencies are the left’s best characteristics

      1. Yup I can’t think of any politician on the right who ever had totalitarian tendencies. Just us lefties.

    2. Ben (@scuderia29)
      30th July 2020, 19:29

      Is it mandatory to stand against or be opposed to racism? No it’s not mandatory, it’s the least humans can expect from one another.

      1. @scuderia29 Finally, a reasonable comment. Cheers!

      2. @scuderia29

        That’s exactly why I oppose the people who want to implement racist policies. Those people often call themselves ‘anti-racists’ for some reason.

  11. On my social media [there’s been a] lot of things about racism and that I’m a racist or whatever

    I think the major issue here is people being too quick to judge and attack a person.

    When people don’t have the courage or opportunity to do what’s actually needed(start fighting racism, ignorance and corruption in places where we actually are living), we tend to target the easier targets…. a F1 driver who was probably too busy to properly communicate about a planned gesture/demonstration before the race starts.

    1. Do not forget it was HAM naming Gros and as such putting him in “the other camp”.
      Ham should know his responsibility is larger than his followers on social media and attacking people results in a :

      “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

      bible quote btw Matthew 12:30

  12. Standing in a circle with all drivers wearing the same shirt says more than any gesture of some kneeling, others not, raising a fist, wearing different shirts. The message itself is most important and that should be unity with all drivers showing support together.

    I appreciate why Lewis feels he should do more than others but by wearing a different shirt and using different gestures he’s actually making the moment more about him than the message (I actually think he’s just trying to show his passion for the movement). While he should absolutely push the agenda and speak about his experiences to the media, that particular moment before the race is about the core end racism message and F1’s aspirations, not individual drivers moment to make statements.

    I can understand why Hamilton was upset by the poor show at the last race and Grosjean should be too. Had you spent your entire life being discriminated against and finally there seemed to be a movement to raise the awareness of that fact but others quickly afterwards decided it wasn’t important anymore, I’d be very angry. That being said, he needs to drop the take a knee stance and just accept it’s not something some of the drivers will do and work on making a unified gesture from all drivers the priority to keep this on the agenda all year.

  13. Lewis is unhappy, Grosjean is unhappy, Wurz is unhappy, Vettel is unhappy, Todt is unhappy, Carey is unhappy.

    This divisive and meaningless prayer should be banned. Nothing is going to be enough and nobody likes to be pushed to do other people rituals.

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      30th July 2020, 19:27

      Other people’s rituals? This is first time f1 has ever been asked or expected to take a stand against racism, it isn’t a ritual?

      1. @scuderia29 “taking the knee” is not a ritual?

        1. Ben (@scuderia29)
          30th July 2020, 23:29

          It’s a gesture

          1. @scuderia29

            Which has remarkable similarities with religious rituals. It’s pretty remarkable how all white people apparently have the ‘original sin’ of racism and have to seek forgiveness with pointless rituals.

  14. This truly is getting boring, and every single discussion gets stonewalled by people calling each other racists..

    Can’t we just go back to having grid girls? Oh no.. that’s sexist nowadays.

  15. kevin citron
    30th July 2020, 18:10

    how about the drivers have a ceremony for the actual victims of covid like motogp does? is that less important than the hobgoblins of small miserable minds?
    enough with the silly political gestures.

    1. How about we leave the covid victim ceremony to MotoGP whilst F1 gets on with redesigning and manufacturing medical equipment and giving the design out for free to help the fight against covid, whilst also delivering a 20% reduction in lost time and mistakes in various ICU’s across the world.

  16. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    30th July 2020, 18:13

    The problem is it’s a gesture. It was a good one – once, but doing it over and over again doesn’t really address what it’s trying to address. It shows solidarity, sure, but it doesn’t ‘do’ anything. It becomes a token and stops being a well intentioned plan and becomes a performative gesture. Forcing people to do something that they don’t want to do – irrespective of reason, even if they agree with the intent – isn’t a good look.

    There are many ways to show F1 & the drivers are committed to ending racism and helping minorities but taking the knee isn’t actually doing anything. I’d rather they set apart time in the pre show to show what F1, or the drivers, are actually doing about it. Are they donating to charity? Are they championing causes? That kind of thing.

    1. That information is out there; just not coming up on sites such as these. I followed the link to the Norris story earlier this week, and looking around that site (Sun or Mail) there were stories on Ricciardo, Vettel and a few others on this issue, Hamilton giving a million to a charity for underprivileged kids, and some tale of Storey of Haas fame buying Sunderland football club. So the information is out there, just needs tracking down.

  17. I think it should be optional for drivers that feel strongly to honor whatever they wish or not. There are so many sub movements now which will be honored and which not ? Why not covid victims, front line healthcare etc. taking a knee means different things in different cultures. Hamilton is bullying the other drivers to join his political protest, if you don’t agree with him you’re a racist!

    1. I thought the protest as you call it was decided by the GPDA in conjunction with the FIA and F1 and as a result of the shambles at the last race a number of drivers and officials complained and the GPDA/FIA/F1 have got together again to revise the thing. I must have missed the story that they are all being bullied by Hamilton into doing this. Any chance of putting up a link to that story?

    2. Ben (@scuderia29)
      30th July 2020, 19:25

      “but what about x” is such a poor excuse to not get behind the anti racism message

  18. I’m impressed by how Sebastian really wants to continue with this. He really takes it seriously.
    I think the whole thing would have some momentum if everyone were to understand why it could actually help make a difference. If that is not the case, they should just stop it.

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      30th July 2020, 23:28

      Just stopping it because some drivers choose not to care as much is a victory for the wrong side

  19. Ben (@scuderia29)
    30th July 2020, 19:24

    The Premier league has no issue with getting all 22 players to take a knee before a match, why is this so difficult for the drivers to do? Premier league have over 200 players take part over a weekend, and the drivers can’t get together and unite over this matter? What’s the message being sent out by the drivers who are late and choose not to kneel?

    1. Well said @ben (and echoing others here) if a sport that has an official ban on political messaging by players can sat it aside for a positive message, ‘ritual’ if you will, which has come to mean unity against racism, then why couldn’t F1 organise it in a solid way.

      I do think that Hamilton probably shouldn’t have aired his (understandable, I think) frustration so personally against Grosjean in the media, knowing how tempers are at the moment, though it reads as if Grosjean indeed didn’t fully understand Hamilton’s urgency, or clearly express what the worries about it were (I’m assuming none of the drivers were actually against the thrust of the intended message itself) as it should at this point indeed be something that the FIA and F1 in cooperation with GPDA plan and organise, so that the drivers can focus most of their energy, apart from that important moment of showing solidarity, on the race.

  20. RocketTankski
    30th July 2020, 20:00

    The sad truth is that yer average ignorant racist is not going to give two hoots about whether people are standing, kneeling, or doing cartwheels, and its pretty rare that any protest action effects a real and lasting change in society. I think education and positive role models are needed but I’m not sure how effective kneeling and a T-shirt will be. Still, got to start somewhere I suppose.

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      30th July 2020, 23:23

      Half true, I have seen so many people talking about how they used to love Lewis Hamilton up until he spoke up in support of the BLM they hate him. So for one it outs people and their true views have come to light, and it shows you can’t support someone like Hamilton without also supporting some of the values they stand for also, it might make people second guess some of their racist opinions when all of their sporting heroes get behind an anti racism message. For the racist football fans that have to watch their favourite Premier league team kneel in support of BLM hopefully makes even just a few of them think.

      1. I think it shows the opposite. It’s highly unlikely any or many of those Hamilton fans were racist. It’s more likely they don’t like the way he’s going about pursuing this movement. Calling people racist before even asking someone about their actions just shows Lewis is an amazing driver, but not a super bright guy. He could be getting the drivers passionate about the movement to really be doing something amazing. Instead, he’s pointing fingers at people who either a) don’t want to express their support in the same exact way he wants or b) drivers who aren’t interested in it (and if that’s how they feel, why even want them on your side). He also consistently fails to outline what concrete goals and actions he wants from F1. Just saying over and over they’re not doing enough is not enough. Let’s not forget Lewis didn’t even pick up on this issue until it was really fashionable. I, a white guy, has been rallying against police abuse for years. Never heard Lewis mention the subject.

  21. 45 minute phone call, jeez..

    And even if Grosjean is representing the 40% drivers who want this to stop and is offended by Hamilton’s public shaming of him like he says, he is still pushing the agenda which is incredible

  22. How about Hamilton citing specific racist EU, Italian, German or British policies that need changed. Otherwise, he’s fighting a pretend narrative that he hasn’t looked at with any critical thought.

  23. I saw this article on Facebook and i looked at the comments after seeing the one Facebook highlighted. I didn’t see a single comment th

    1. Sorry, sausage fingers on the phone.

    2. I saw this article on Facebook and I looked at the comments after seeing the one Facebook highlighted. I didn’t see a single comment that wasn’t at the very minimum a dog whistle for a racist agenda against Hamilton. How much of these posts are from bots and trolls I don’t know and it is as much a comment on the ills of social media than anything else.

      So while it does get a bit repetitive seeing the kneel at every race, if it makes it clear that racism is still a problem it can put the conversation out there. Hopefully those confused or have misplaced anger will learn and accept that things have to change. I am glad to see this comments section is much more knowledgeable and accommodating than that on Facebook.

  24. I think taking a knee helps. The drivers, the footballers are global role models. The more they make their stand on this public, hopefully it will change the minds of people in favour of equal rights and treatment. Even if it changes just one person worldwide, I think it is worth it.

  25. Hamilton also did a Black Power gesture.
    When taking the knee is being accepted as a returning event will Lewis push to make the Black Power gesture also mandatory?

  26. There’s a big difference between racism and the ignorance of it.

Comments are closed.