Floyd Mayweather Jr. wasn’t known to speak out on social issues during his boxing career, but that might be changing in his retirement. The undefeated fighter recently weighed in on the issues between African Americans and the police.
Mayweather delivered his opinion unprompted at a recent Mayweather Promotions event.
“I’m here to say all lives matter,” Mayweather said. “You know, a lot of times, we get stuck, and we are followers. When you hear one person say, ‘black lives matter,’ or ‘blue lives matter,’ all lives matter.”
“It’s not right what is going on in this world on both sides. What I learned from boxing and what everyone can take in real life is to follow directions, follow order. Don’t give nobody a hard time.”
Plenty of athletes have taken the exact opposite stand, choosing to protest the deaths of black people at the hands of the police. Most notably, NFL players are making their voices heard during the national anthem before each game.
The national anthem protest was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the preseason, and he continues to kneel when the song is played before kickoff. Mayweather, a proud American who represented the United States in the 1996 Olympics, doesn’t agree with Kaepernick’s decision.
“Kaepernick needs to try and get the starting job,” Mayweather said. “Stand up, and get the starting job. That’s what he needs to focus on.”
“I can’t knock him. If that’s what he believes in and the people stand behind him, so be it. He’s got the number one selling jersey, so it’s obvious he’s doing something right.”
Mayweather’s comments came just before Kaepernick was officially named the 49ers’ starting quarterback, replacing Blaine Gabbert ahead of the team’s game on Sunday. Kaepernick had been the starting quarterback since 2012, but he lost the starting job last year and only won it back after San Francisco lost four of its first five games to begin the 2016 season.
Mayweather retired after his fight with Andre Berto on Sept. 12, 2015 with a record of 49-0. Despite rumors that he might return to the ring, Mayweather has remained retired.