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Max Kepler Apologizes for 'Blue Lives Matter' Mask amid George Floyd Protests

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

FORT MYERS, FL- FEBRUARY 28: Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins bats during a spring training game against the Boston Red Sox on February 28, 2020 at the Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler apologized for wearing a "Blue Lives Matter" flag face mask in the wake of George Floyd being killed by Minneapolis police officers. 

Kepler, who is German, deleted the post and told one fan that he didn't know what the mask stood for when he wore it, saying that "Police is green in Germany," per Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News. He also issued a formal apology:

"Earlier, I posted a photo of me in a mask that was sent to me by a company, to wear during the pandemic. I had no idea that the mask had any underlying inferences—I simply thought it looked good. After I was informed, I immediately took down the post.

"I take complete responsibility for not knowing what I was wearing. I am truly sorry for the hurt and pain my actions have caused, especially now. Racism has no place in our world and I do not in any way support the actions that we all witnessed that led to George Floyd's passing. My sympathies are with the Floyd family."

Floyd, 46, was unarmed and arrested Monday evening after a local shopkeeper called police about somebody attempting to pay for something with a counterfeit bill. Video showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for seven minutes while he lay on the ground, handcuffed, following his arrest.

Floyd repeatedly told the officers that he couldn't breathe and that he was about to die. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, though the video showed his body being limp after the officer removed his knee from Floyd's neck, with an onlooker remarking, "They just killed him." 

The four officers at the scene were all fired, though to this point no charges against any of them have been filed.

"My job in the end is to prove he violated a criminal statute. And there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge," Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said Thursday, per Christina Maxouris, Jason Hanna and Steve Almasy of CNN.com. "We need to wade through all of that evidence and come to a meaningful decision and we are doing that to the best of our ability."

His office later issued a separate statement, saying Freeman misspoke regarding evidence.

"Evidence not favorable to our case needs to be carefully examined to understand the full picture of what actually happened," the statement said. "This happens in every case."

In light of Floyd's killing, protests broke out in both Minneapolis and across the country, with officers in Minneapolis responding with tear gas, rubber bullets and other measures. Protestors reportedly set the Third Precinct building—where the four officers had been stationed before they were let go—on fire. 

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