Australian NBA superstar Ben Simmons has weighed in on the racism controversy surrounding the Collingwood Magpies after former player Heritier Lumumba again called on the club to address years of racial discrimination he endured throughout his career.
Lumumba went through a high profile split with the Magpies after his reports of players referring to him by the nickname ‘chimp’, among other racist nicknames, fell on deaf ears.
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Magpies president Eddie McGuire addressed Lumumba’s renewed push for the club to acknowledge his story on breakfast radio, saying he had tried to ‘reach out’ to Lumumba, who now lives in Los Angeles.
Simmons took to Twitter to share Lumumba’s tweet outlining the discrimination he faced throughout his career, declaring ‘enough is enough’.
To make any progress in stamping out racism in Australia and working towards equality you HAVE to HAVE the uncomfortable conversations. Time to step up. Enough is enough https://t.co/GgzIW8KVmn— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) June 11, 2020
“To make any progress in stamping out racism in Australia and working towards equality you HAVE to HAVE the uncomfortable conversations,” Simmons wrote.
“Time to step up. Enough is enough.”
Simmons has been vocal in his support of protests against racist policing practices and police brutality across the United States and also in Australia.
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The Philadelphia 76ers star was one of many athletes to post messages of support for the protest movement, which erupted after the death of African American man George Floyd while in police custody.
A Minnesota police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, killing him, despite Floyd’s protests that he couldn’t breathe.
Simmons took to Instagram soon after, sharing an image of himself wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words ‘I can’t breathe’ - the last words of Eric Garner, another black man who was killed while under police custody in 2014.
“Witnessing the news the past few weeks & hearing the outcry has given me a lot to think about,” Simmons posted alongside the image.
“It is time for everyone, from all walks of life, to get comfortable with voicing & calling out the uncomfortable subject of Blatant Racism that exists heavily within our society.
“We are ALL accountable & we shouldn’t have to revisit tragedies like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery time & time again. 6 years ago I put on this tee shirt to show solidarity & we’re still fighting. Enough is enough.”