The Arthur Ashe monument in Richmond, Virginia was vandalized on Monday Morning, according to NBC 12. The monument covered with the phrase "White Lives Matter" graffiti, which was spray-painted over with the phrase "Black Lives Matter." Community members were trying to remove the paint before the police arrived. According to TMZ, officers have some information on potential suspects.
The Arthur Ashe monument was dedicated in 1996 to pay tribute to the late tennis star. The statue of Ashe sits on Monument Avenue, which features a set of statues dedicated to Confederate leaders. This comes at a time where protests on police brutality and racial injustice are going on across the country. It began when a Minnesota man, George Floyd, was killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
🚨BREAKING: Someone spray-painted "WLM," on the Arthur Ashe statue, "BLM" was painted over it.
Ashe, a tennis legend & Richmond native, has the only African American statue on Monument Avenue, amongst the other 5 Confederate leaders. pic.twitter.com/eADAGknL0S— Anthony Antoine (@AnthonyNBC12) June 17, 2020
Ashe broke barriers in the tennis world as he was the first Black player to be selected to the United States Davis Cup and the only Black man to win a singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open. Ashe won at Wimbledon in 1975 while his Australian Open title came in 1970, and his US Open Championship was in 1968. Ashe also won doubles titles at the Australian Open (1977) and French Open (1971). And when it comes to the Davis Cup, Ashe helped the team win in 1963, 1968, 1969, and 1970. Ashe retired from the game in 1980.
"The game of tennis really just gave him a platform to speak about the issues that he cared so much about," Ashe's widow Jeanne Moutoussamy said to CNN in 2013. "I think he was a role model for a whole lot of kids, which is why his legacy is so important to promote today. We don't want a whole generation of kids today — and generations to come — to not know that he was more than a tennis player."
Ashe, who died in 1993, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985. Along with the monument in Virginia, the main stadium at the USTA National Tennis Center in New York where the US Open is played is named Arthur Ashe Stadium in his honor.