Several Minnesota Vikings players attended the George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis on Thursday, the team announced. The service was held at North Central University's Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary, which is less than half-mile from U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings players that attended were Alexander Mattison, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Mike Hughes, Garrett Bradbury, Aviante Collins, Dakota Dozier, Tajae Sharpe, Tyler Conklin, Chad Beebe, Cameron Smith and Jake Browning.
After the service, Mattison said the team "wanted to show up." He also said: "We're a team that people in this community look up to and look at in Minnesota, especially in Minneapolis. "That was definitely one powerful atmosphere. It was like no other that I've felt in my life, the power that I felt in that room. His family was able to give their testimony for how great of a man he was, and it's sad to see how a life was taken." Mattison added, "The time is now for change" and they will "continue to talk and figure out ways to make that change as a team and people of this community."
Floyd, 46, died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police on May 25. One of the officers was kneeling on Floyd's neck while he was on the ground for more than eight minutes. Video of the incident was taken by bystanders, and it led to a national outcry. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer released a statement earlier this week. "I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd as well as the entire community for his senseless death," he stated. Peaceful protests can help bring change, and we definitely need change so we can all live in harmony. Everyone needs to respect each other's ideas and work together to strengthen, not weaken our community. I believe our football team is an example of how people from all different backgrounds and experiences can come together for a common goal."
There were also a number of celebrities who attended the memorial service including. T.I., Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and Marsai Martin. Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton were also on hand as Sharpton delivered the eulogy.