SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Michael Johnson: If you're not using your platform on issue of racism, 'you're complicit'

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson says he has "a problem" with any sportsperson not currently using their platform to shine light on inequality and systemic racism.

Posted: Jul 25, 2020 10:01 AM
Updated: Jul 25, 2020 10:01 AM

"If you have a platform and you're not speaking, I've got a problem with you."

It's a blunt message four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson delivers as he called on sportspeople to use their platform to fight against inequality and to show support to the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Prior to this whole movement that we see right now, I would have said that it's up to the individual," Johnson told CNN's Amanda Davies in an Instagram Live. "But being silent right now, that's hurting people.

"There are a lot of people out there sacrificing, doing incredibly hard and difficult work to highlight this matter and to keep the focus on the inequalities in this country and around the world, and the systemic racism that exists.

"They're not famous, they're out there marching, they're out there organizing, they're out there highlighting these issues. If you have the ability, you have a platform and you're not using it, then you're hurting people and you're complicit."

'As Black people, we're tired. Just really tired'

Johnson says fighting for equality is "exhausting," but that he won't be stop talking about these issues.

"It was exhausting for Martin Luther King Jr. and all of those civil rights leaders, it was exhausting for them. But they kept going, and we owe it to them.

"We owe it to all of our ancestors who have been working for years and who suffered to not be tired, to not let that get us down and say, 'Okay, I'm gonna let somebody else do the work.' We have to keep working."

While the killing of George Floyd in May sparked widespread protests across the US -- and around the world -- that continue to this day, the former 200 and 400 meter runner said the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, "gunned down while he was out running" hit him hard.

Johnson added that he thought the incident in Central Park where White woman Amy Cooper called the police on Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper was "the most impactful thing."

"When a White woman decides because she doesn't like the way that a Black man is asking her to obey the rules in Central Park by leashing her dog, she decides that she's going to use her privileged position as a White woman, and weaponize that against this Black man, because she knows that she has that power because that's the way that our society works.

"As a White woman, I have this power that I'm going to be believed. And you as a Black man are not going to be believed and trouble will come to you. She knew that she had that because that's the way our society works

"And the thing is that happens every single day, thousands of times a day. That is the issue. And it's the system that allows that to happen. The world we live in, that's what allows that to happen.

"The George Floyd situation, there's more impact because he's dead. He's no longer with us. That doesn't happen every day. But I think people saw that situation in Central Park and said, 'This happens every single day, every single day.' And if it's not caught on video, no one would believe it."

Earlier this month, Amy Cooper's attorney said she would be acquitted and decried the rise of "cancel culture."

"When all the facts are known, Amy Cooper will be found not guilty of the single misdemeanor charge she faces," attorney Robert Barnes said in a statement. "Based on a misunderstood 60 seconds of video, she lost her job, her home and her reputation.

"Public shaming, lost employment, denied benefits & now prison time for a mis-perceived, momentary alleged 'wrong think'? For words said in a sixty second interaction where even the alleged victim calls this reaction way excessive? This criminalized, cancel culture is cancerous & precarious. That is why acquitting Amy Cooper is important."

In comments to CNN in May, Cooper said she wanted to "publicly apologize to everyone."

"I'm not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way," she said, adding that she also didn't mean any harm to the African American community.

Christian Cooper acknowledged her apology but said her act was racist.

Johnson singled out athletes Lewis Hamilton and LeBron James for using their platforms to publicize and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

After winning the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, Hamilton criticized Formula One for "lacking leadership" in the fight against racism.

James used his media interview after his first scrimmage ahead of the NBA's return to "shed light on justice for Breonna Taylor."

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed when police broke down the door to her apartment in an attempted drug sting and shot her eight times, in Louisville, Kentucky. A police officer involved in her fatal shooting was fired last month, according to the police department, more than three months after Taylor's death.

None of the officers involved in the shooting has been charged with a crime.

Johnson said: "The sort of work that people like LeBron James and Lewis Hamilton [do] ... in highlighting issues, bringing people to the table that ultimately, if they didn't have that appreciation for Lewis and support the Mercedes F1 team, where they didn't have that appreciation for LeBron James then they may not actually give this any thought.

"They pay attention to that athlete, that team that kneeled, it may get them to come to the table and have the discussion. And I think that's really important."

Johnson said that the movement is not about changing the minds of racist people, saying: "That's who they [racist people] want to be. We may be able to change some of them, but this is about getting people who have privilege who aren't racist, per se, but have privilege and who don't understand that your privilege is at the expense of someone else."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 22°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 19°
Huntington
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 26°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Dry start to Monday, snow/freezing rain moves in late
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events