Sportswomen unite in protest against racism after killing of George Floyd

Coco Gauff of the United States celebrates after winning a point during her Women's Singles third round match against Naomi Osaka of Japan day five of the 2020 Australian Ope - Hannah Peters/Getty Images

A host of female athletes have spoken out about racial injustice, following the death of an unarmed black man in police custody in the US.

George Floyd, 46, was killed in Minneapolis on Monday and a video was later released showing a white policeman kneeling on his neck despite him saying he could not breathe.

All four police officers present at the scene have since been fired but it took until Friday for one of them to be arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter while the other three have so far not been taken into custody. 

The US city has experienced protests and violent clashes with police this week, a police station was set on fire on Thursday night and President Donald Trump has branded protestors "thugs" in a Twitter post on Friday. It was later hidden by the social site for "glorifying violence".

Many in sport have taken to social media to voice their outrage at the incident, including 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith:

The British sprinter referred to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has not played in the league since he was suspended in 2016 for taking a knee during the national anthem in protest at racial inequality and police brutality. "This is why people kneel. Racism, police brutality ... all of this is something we all have to be vocal about. Irrespective of our race or nationality."

"George Floyd still at the front of my mind," she added on Friday, before calling on organisations to take a stand. "Feel like it would be a great time for all the organisations and brands that celebrate Black History Month (+ more) in a tokenistic way and go on to make a huge profit and shift a lot of product as a result to be doing something right now."

American tennis player Coco Gauff also gave her take: 

The 16-year-old added a call to action for her followers, asking them to sign a petition demanding justice for Floyd, before writing: "I promise to always use my platform to help make the world a better place."

Six-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix echoed her sentiment, sharing a post by the Black Lives Matter movement, which read: "Too much trauma. Too much mourning. Too many hashtags. Too often healing these wounds over and over again. STOP KILLING US. We stand with you Minneapolis, our hearts are broken too."

Meanwhile, US Women's National Team footballers took to social media to voice their disgust, with Megan Rapinoe sharing the quote, "Racism is not getting worse, it's getting filmed", while team-mate Alex Morgan posted her own message on Twitter: 

On Friday a black CNN reporter was arrested live on television, and later released, by Minneapolis police while reporting on the protests, and England netball player and lawyer Eboni Usoro-Brown weighed in on the incident.

Chelsea defender Anita Asante joined the thousands of tributes to Floyd, along with fellow Women's Super League player, Liverpool's Rinsola Babajide: "It’s crazy what’s still happening in the U.S. killing us solely ‘cos of the colour of our skin. So heartbreaking to see. We gotta stick together.. Police literally can’t keep getting away with this.. when will it end!!!"