Batista, Titus O'Neil Discuss Protests, Equality After Death of George Floyd

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13:  (L-R) Titus Oneil, Fantasia Barrino and Titus Oneil attend All-Star Lineup Pays Tribute At
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

WWE Superstar Titus O'Neil and WWE Hall of Famer Batista sat down Saturday to discuss the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and how to fix the racial divide among police and African American people, as well as in the United States as a whole.

O'Neil and Batista, who are both Tampa, Florida, residents, were joined by Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan and Tampa Sheriff Chad Chronister. O'Neil and Batista offered their takes and also asked Dugan and Chronister questions that had been sent to them on Instagram Live.

Batista stressed the importance of American citizens of every race taking an interest in the circumstances surrounding Floyd's death and being part of the discussion on how to fix the divide moving forward:

"Everybody needs to stand up and face this even if it's uncomfortable or not because until we start putting it all on the table and discussing it—and I'm talking about everybody whether it affects you directly or not—it's never gonna change. We cannot afford to let things like this keep happening. Black person, white person, whatever, we're all human. And anyone who watched George Floyd get murdered on the ground, this has got to affect you. This is a human being issue."

Floyd was pronounced dead at a Minneapolis hospital Monday after getting arrested. Video of the arrest showed Floyd telling officer Derek Chauvin, who was kneeling on the back of Floyd's neck, that he couldn't breathe on multiple occasions. Despite that, Chauvin did not ease the pressure.

Chauvin was fired from his position as a Minneapolis police officer and was then arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter Friday.

O'Neil talked about the unfair treatment of African American people in the United States today and over the course of history:

"Whether America wants to admit it or not, black and brown people and minorities have never been treated fairly in this country. We didn't ask to be put on slave ships and ripped away from our families, we did not ask to be lynched in public and disrespected over and over again. ... I'm in the same boat of a lot of other African American people ... where I don't want to f--king march, I don't want to protest, I don't want to constantly have to sit down with my two sons and explain to them this type of s--t."

As a result of Floyd's death, there have been protests in Minneapolis and other cities throughout the United States. Some have also looted businesses and burned them down.

O'Neil isn't in favor of looting and called for those who are angry about what happened to Floyd to channel it and use it in a different way:

"Nobody's gonna listen to a person or a group of people when we're doing it to ourselves. The neighborhoods you're looting, the buildings you're burning in Ferguson, in Baltimore, in Atlanta and all over the country, I guarantee you some of those were minority-owned businesses. So the very people that you're sitting up there and saying you're protesting for are the ones you're affecting the most because you know how hard it is to get a loan, you know how hard it is to make ends meet, you know how hard it is to have our certain victories. ... You're willing to throw all of that away because of anger, uncontrollable anger. We need to learn how to control our anger and apply, strategize, mobilize and get people from all walks of life moving in the same direction."

O'Neil and Batista are two of the many well-known athletes who have spoken out about Floyd's death in recent days along with the likes of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.