US Based National Sprinter Speaks On Racism, Ongoing Protests

Cejhae Greene. (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

Antiguan professional sprinter, Cejhae Greene, says he is in support of ongoing protests across the US and other countries as the world shows support for the family of George Floyd who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes, while he was handcuffed and face down in the street.

In an interview with OBSERVER media, Greene who is currently in the US, said the people who oppose racism have simply had enough.

“I support the protests because being a black person up here [in the USA] our voices need to be heard. We have been trying so hard for our voices to be heard, and it’s just being set aside, and just as  George Floyd was the person to [pay] the ultimate price with his life, it could have easily been me, so the protests are needed because people haven’t been listening, so I fully support the protests. It’s just sad that it had to reach this point where there is so much destruction and people sacrificing themselves in terms of not being safe so that officials and others could just listen to what’s going on,” he said.

Greene, who win silver in last year’s Pan American Games held in Lima, Peru, said it is no secret that racism exists in sports, and that it is something that should be eradicated.

“It plays on your mind sometimes that anything could just happen because of the colour of your skin and racism in sports; we know it’s there and that it’s prevalent. I was talking to my coach the other day and I was saying how sports somehow always manages to bring people together which is such a great thing that people who are in sports could get an understanding of persons from different races and how they feel, and it’s good that you get a chance to be heard and to change people’s perspective, but we all know racism in sports is still a big thing,” the athlete said.

“We see a lot of fans who support us as athletes, but some only really support us from the stands and that’s it, but they don’t really care about our wellbeing and what we’re going through, being a black man in America, you kind of see it a little bit more than most,” he added.

Greene, in an earlier interview, indicated that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has frustrated his preparations for the now postponed Olympic Games.

The athletes said that although he hoped to have been home, he would be better able to prepare in the US.

“As a matter of a fact, I was speaking to Priscilla a couple of weeks ago, and we were hoping it never got this far, and we could actually have the track home and we could run a training camp and the both of us could actually be home, and she would help out some of the youths, but I would have loved to come home,” he said.

“The last time I spoke to my coach I think he said the US is not allowing non-nationals to return, and it’s just easier to get stuff done up here, and with the track here being open. The weight room isn’t open, but we could still get some work done so it’s probably best for me to stay up here because of the facilities and stuff, but man, I miss home, I miss the family,” he added.

Derek Chauvin, the officer who held Floyd down, recently had his third-degree murder charge upgraded to second-degree murder.

He also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge.

The three other officers present when Floyd was killed face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four have been fired from the Minneapolis police force. 

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