WWE star and ambassador Titus O’Neil spoke with ESPN to discuss the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, and the ongoing protests that have sparked in the last few days. Highlights of his interview can be found below.
Says people of all races have the responsibility to help eradicate racism:
The reality of it is … it shouldn’t be on the minorities to lead this discussion. When we talk about America being the greatest country in the world, we need to start by learning how to become the greatest people in the world. When you have stuff like this and many other issues that are systemic and institutional, it’s very hard to have faith in the system because the losses are far greater than the victories. And in this case, we’re hoping and praying and rooting for the justice system to serve. ‘Just give us at least one.’ Let’s start with one victory here. But people from all races have the responsibility to help make this country better and to help eradicate. It’s not all on my back.
Having uncomfortable conversations and touching on Colin Kaepernick protests:
The uncomfortable conversations — the way you feel uncomfortable — some of y’all go to football games all the time. It’s hot or cold as I don’t know what. And you’re still uncomfortable. But you’ll sit through that football game. Because you’re interested. You’re invested. You bought that ticket. It don’t matter how hot it is — especially here in Tampa, you bought a ticket to go see Tom Brady perform — you’re gonna sit in that. It could be lightning and monsooning and you’ll be right there. So all I’m asking is that in the midst of this, and prior history before this: Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be willing to ask and have questions and give answers. Don’t brush aside people’s hurt and anger and try to politicize it and say, ‘If Colin Kaepernick was kneeling because of this reason, police brutality, you make it about the flag or you make it about the military and this and that.’ No. This is why he kneeled. We raised fists because we wanted to be liberated from this type of behavior.
Fearing for his sons lives and potentially adding a camera to their cars in case they get pulled over:
That’s another layer of something I’ve gotta have a talk about every single time my son gets in the car,” O’Neil said. “And both of my sons are honor roll students, honorable people, great human beings, would never do anything harmful to anybody. And here I am, ‘Superman’ in some people’s eyes. And for the first time in my life, I don’t have one f—ing answer to say, ‘It’s gonna be a OK.’ Because the last time I told them it was gonna be OK, it wasn’t f—ing OK. And the time before that I told them it was gonna be OK, it wasn’t f—ing OK. And if I’m feeling that, how do you think people — I heard a woman say earlier today, a 79-year-old black woman say, ‘They tear-gassed those protesters the same way they did us back in the day.
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