George Floyd, a black man who died while in police custody, was laid to rest on Tuesday in a private funeral ceremony at the Fountain of Praise church. Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien and star defensive end JJ Watt were on hand for the celebration of life. They took part in the ceremony along with several other members of the team.
Joining Watt and O'Brien were team owner Cal McNair and his wife Hannah, as well as defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, front-office executive Jack Easterby and former defender DJ Reader also attended the service. O'Brien previously revealed that the team would not hold any meetings on Tuesday. He encouraged those in Houston to attend the funeral if they were able.
REMEMBERING GEORGE FLOYD: Hundreds are attending the funeral service for George Floyd in Houston, including Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, JJ Watt and more. https://t.co/rcnqPKWQmi pic.twitter.com/ucJENyoTaK— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) June 9, 2020
"It's historic, but it's sad that we are here," McNair said about the funeral. "Things have to change, and we are here to support the change in our community." Along with the Texans contingent, many other high-profile figures were in the congregation for the nearly four-hour service. This included actors Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum as they pushed for an end to systemic racism.
O'Brien has been vocal about racial inequality in the weeks following Floyd's death in Minneapolis. The Texans coach gave a long statement to reporters the week prior to the funeral service and explained that it's time to "stand up" about the things taking place around the country. He agrees with comments from President Barack Obama about everyone "becoming an activist" while fighting against systemic racism.
"We all have to stand up and understand what's going on in this country right now is wrong. It's wrong relative to many, many things," O'Brien said. "I had a great conversation with a friend yesterday. A friend of mine, who I won't mention his name, but he talked to me. He's a black man and he talked to me a lot about his experiences growing up in Miami and living on the West Coast and it's not just police brutality, although that's what we're talking about right now. It's corporate America, it's professional sports, it's the medical area, it's the legal area — it's everything. We all have to do our part. We all have to do it now."
Floyd was killed by former officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25 after the cop knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin was later arrested on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter. Although those charges were later elevated to second-degree murder and manslaughter by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. The three other officers involved in the incident — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane — were later arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.