A statue of African American tennis legend Arthur Ashe on Richmond, Virginia's Monument Avenue has been vandalised with the words “White Lives Matter.”
Photos show the base of the monument tagged with white spray paint and the words “white lives matter”, as well as the initials “WLM.”
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Those initials were then later painted over with “BLM” for “Black Lives Matter”.
Richmond Police said they were alerted to the vandalism about 10:15 am on Wednesday.
Police say red paint on the statue itself was already being cleaned off by community members.
Police said they have information on possible suspects and are asking the community to help if they have information on who is responsible for the vandalism.
Social media photos appear to show one vandal in the act of spraying “BLM” on the statue.
The Arthur Ashe monument was dedicated in 1996 to memorialise the Richmond native and counterbalance the string of statues on Memorial Avenue dedicated to Confederate leaders.
The vandalism of the Ashe statue comes as multiple Confederate statues have been toppled, vandalised and slated for removal in the city during protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Social media users hit out at the vandalism of Ashe’s statue, with many labelling it ‘disgusting’ and ‘disgraceful’.
Arthur Ashe left a legendary legacy as an athlete and humanitarian, one actually worthy of a monument. He's a hero. And this is what someone decided to do in response to what's happened to Confederate monuments. Racist, disgraceful and shameful. https://t.co/Dr5TxnoDLk— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) June 18, 2020
Arthur Ashe was a decent human being.— Thom (@thom_kingsfan11) June 18, 2020
This is disgusting. https://t.co/MOeACNBZSt
There will always be those who won't hesitate to show you how uneducated, soulless & classless they truly are. Defacing a monument of the late, great Arthur Ashe is beyond disgusting. You cant help but wonder who stepped on their heart in life to do this? It wasnt Ashe.— G 🙋♂️ 😷 (@GarrenGroom) June 18, 2020
Arthur Ashe was a model of grace and accomplishment. This was a disgusting act. https://t.co/zfSFcCHdfx— Margaret Manzi (@mostquiet) June 18, 2020
“There are people who have an agenda,” David Harris Jr, Ashe’s nephew, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
“Some of them are still settling on hate and discord because they see the system changing before them, and they’re lacking influence and control over it.”
Ashe, who died in 1993 at age 49, was the first black man to win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Sam Newman’s shock George Floyd comments
Meanwhile, Sam Newman has once again slammed AFL players for taking a knee before games last weekend, saying Floyd should not be idolised.
Newman also questioned Floyd’s character and asked how anyone could devote ‘monuments’ to him.
“George Floyd, who is a piece of sh*t incidentally,” Newman said in reference to the 46-year-old’s criminal history.
“You know who George Floyd is? He has been in jail five times, he held up a pregnant black woman with a knife, he's a drug addict, he's a crack head and he's a porn star.”
To which co-host Mike Sheahan responded: “And he's dead”.
“Because of the police brutality,” Newman responded.
“And it should never have happened, but I'm just telling you who George Floyd is and they've made a monument to him and he's a piece of sh*t.”
Newman went on to say the police actions in Floyd’s death were “disgraceful” and “inexcusable”, but couldn’t see why the protests had spread to Australia.
with Yahoo Sports Staff