Last night (Sept. 13), the New England Patriots played against the Miami Dolphins in their second game since the start of the season. When Newton scored his first touchdown, the typical victory dance was replaced with the Wakanda salute made famous in Black Panther — a tribute to the late Boseman who lost a four year battle to colon cancer last month.
Newton also paid homage to Blake, the Black man that was shot at least seven times in the back by officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His cleats read phrases like “7 Shots” and “no justice, no peace,” symbolizing his stance against racism.
Following Boseman’s untimely death, LeBron James also honored the acclaimed actor. During the national anthem at a Lakers game, he added the Wakanda salute to his usual form of protest against police brutality: kneeling. “It actually felt like we had our Black superhero and nobody could touch us,” told reporters during a postgame conference. “To lose that, it’s sad in our community. To lose Black Panther and Mamba in the same year; 2020 is the shittiest year.”
James was also saddened by Blake’s horrific shooting. “And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted,” he wrote after seeing the graphic footage. “This sh*t is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”
James and fellow NBA players eventually honored Blake with action and boycotted their playoff games. The walkouts sparked social justice initiatives across the sports world. The NBA, in particular, have announced they will work to convert basketball arenas to polling sites for the 2020 election.
Look below for Newton’s tributes to Boseman and Blake.