The death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police on Monday has caused racial tensions to boil over across the United States.
That was no more true than in Atlanta Friday night. The city was torn apart as protests turned into riots. The CNN building was vandalized in downtown Atlanta and the famed College Football Hall of Fame was heavily damaged and looted.
The past week has shown the United States in the worst possible light. A nation unable to come together during a global pandemic. A nation still divided on socioeconomic and racial lines.
As a hotbed of this racial tension, Atlanta acted as a figurehead Friday night. One day later, a key member of the community is speaking up.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank had some wise words following the death of Mr. Floyd and the ensuing riots.
“A number of events over the last couple of weeks have reminded us again that the long, worthy quest for equal justice, civility and unity in America is far from over. People are scared and in pain,” Blank said, via the Falcons' official website. “Their frustration is real, and it must be acknowledged and addressed. More must be done to address systemic racism. More must be done to address the underlying issues that have led to these incidents across the country. More must be done to bring people together through meaningful change.”
Blank, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, continues to do so much good within the Atlanta community. From propping up the poor to helping amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s been the face of unity. His words should be heard.
He also spoke out on the riots we witnessed on national television Friday night while addressing the divisiveness of today’s political culture.
“The public discourse on these and other issues is too divisive, too political. These are not political issues, they are human issues that need serious, earnest attention from leaders and citizens alike who understand that diversity is our strength and fair treatment is everyone’s right,” Blank said.” Open, honest dialogue is needed on a much greater scale. It is my hope that we take this terrible moment in our history to elevate that conversation toward productive action and lasting, positive change.
"Peaceful protests of the past have led to new ways forward. Lawlessness, vandalism and intentionally upending the peace with any form of violence has never been productive and is not the answer. We must not accept or condone violence in any way. And to be sure, Atlanta is better than what we saw in the actions of a few last night.”
These are even-keeled words during a time in America’s history that is anything but. Once again, Mr. Blank is stepping up and proving himself to be a national leader.
You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.
Emailed daily. Always FREE!