- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was the latest star athlete to chime in on the death of George Floyd and protests that have erupted in the District of Columbia and across the country.

Floyd, a black man, died in police custody last week in Minneapolis when an officer knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes, ignoring Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe that were caught on eyewitness video.

“RIP George Floyd,” Ovechkin wrote, along with a broken heart emoji. “So sad to see what happening everywhere and DC!! it is so important for us to respect and love each other no matter what we look like!!!! We need (to) listen and do change…pls stay safe….take care each other and family.”

Ovechkin sent the tweet Monday night as the fourth night of demonstrations in the District turned ugly. President Trump activated National Guard troops to quell what he called “riots and lawlessness” that had often bubbled up among peaceful protests around the U.S. The scene in the District was the focus of cable news coverage throughout Monday night.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was critical of the president’s decision.

“Deploy US military on US citizens? Really,” Beal tweeted.

Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, who had already written a long statement about Floyd’s death over the weekend, also chimed in about what happened in the District.

“Sending strength and love to the people of my adopted home city of DC,” he wrote. “It was horrifying to watch an occupying military force escalate violence against peaceful protesters. I support your message and your peaceful protests. I stand with you. Stay safe DC. #BlackLivesMatter”

“It’s horrifying to watch this unfold on the same streets where we celebrated a World Series just 7 months ago,” he continued. “DC has shown our team so much love and they welcomed me and my wife into their community. We’re so proud to be a part of it. This is heartbreaking. DC stay strong.”

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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