Cameron Champ, Tony Finau react to Chauvin verdict
'A stepping-stone for holding everybody accountable no matter your race or color or profession'
April 21, 2021
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- April 21, 2021
- Cameron Champ during Round 3 of the 2021 Masters. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
AVONDALE, La. – Cameron Champ and Tony Finau, who are partnering as one of the high-profile teams in this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, have been vocal on social media amid the national unrest following George Floyd’s death last May, and they expressed relief at the jury’s guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday.
“I was watching it last night on TNT after the basketball game,” said Champ. “And DWade and Shaq were even saying it was like you were nervous to see what they were actually going to do, if they were actually going to hold somebody accountable for once.”
Added Finau, “At the end of the day hopefully what ends up prevailing is people’s eyes being opened across the country on what the right thing ultimately is, and that's just equality for all. That's where I'll stand always when it comes to things like that.”
Champ is Black, while Finau is the first PGA TOUR pro of Tongan and Samoan descent. Both players have been open about having experienced racism.
Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes outside a Minneapolis convenience store last May even as Floyd cried that he could not breathe. A bystander took video of the incident, which sparked a summer of unrest and proved vital to the prosecution’s case.
The jury took portions of two days to reach a verdict, finding Chauvin guilty of two murder counts and one manslaughter count. Reactions from the sports world poured in. LeBron James tweeted,“ACCOUNTABILITY.” Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes simply tweeted an emoji of praying hands, while Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl Anthony-Towns wrote, “Justice and Accountability! Things I never thought I would see. There’s much more work to do, but this is an amazing start working toward the reform this country NEEDS!” NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace wrote “Justice served on all counts. Good. Still a ton of work to do. Continue to rest peacefully #GeorgeFloyd.”
Champ and Finau have been consistent voices for racial and social equity.
“Silence is not a position I will take,” Finau wrote on Instagram as the world reacted to Floyd’s death last summer. “It is time to add greater understanding to our perspectives. It is time for all of us to build a future together that treats everyone with the dignity, fairness, respect and equality that they deserve. I stand with you. #BlackLivesMatter”
Last summer, the PGA TOUR recognized Floyd’s death as a moment of racial and social reckoning, setting aside a ceremonial tee time during the first event of its Return to Golf – at 8:46 a.m. to memorialize Floyd’s life and the 8 minutes and 46 seconds (reported at the time) that Chauvin kneeled on his neck.
In the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August, Champ pointedly wore one black shoe and one white one during the BMW Championship in the FedExCup Playoffs. He still has “EQUALITY” stamped on the side of his hat.
“We’re proud of the leadership role Cameron and Tony have taken this past year, using their unique perspectives and thoughtful voices to advocate for justice, fairness and respect for all,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “They are an important part of what we can do, together, in an authentic way. We can listen, we can learn and we can use our platform to amplify and assist those who are making positive change in the world.
“Yesterday’s verdict is one step in this journey, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to unite, impact and inspire.”
In processing the verdict, Champ landed on the same word James did: accountability.
“I think for everybody in the Black community and just certain communities in the country, that was a huge steppingstone for holding everybody accountable no matter your race or color or profession,” he said. “I hope it’s just a start for things to get better as a whole.”