NEW ORLEANS — Thousands participated in "Blackout Tuesday" in a show of solidarity on social media with international protests against racism and police brutality, including prominent members of the New Orleans Saints.
The "Blackout Tuesday" demonstration on social media was designed as a way to show support for the protests and to encourage black voices on the platforms to be heard. Many participating in the demonstration post a square, black photo, often without a caption.
Sean Payton, the team's head coach, broke a 10-day period of silence on Twitter to post a photo of a black square. A few minutes later, he posted the pictures of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, along with a short statement on thier deaths.
Floyd was a black man who died in Minneapolis when a white police officer kneeled on the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and said he couldn't breathe. That incident has sparked widespread protests after video of the arrest began circulating online.
The officer seen in the video was fired, arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Arbery, a black man from Georgia, was shot and killed in February while he was jogging through a neighborhood by two white men who chased him in a pickup truck. Video released to local media outlets appears to show the deadly attack. The men who shot him were arrested months later and were charged with murder and aggravated assault.
The 22 weeks Payton is referencing is the presidential election on Nov. 3.
The official Saints Twitter page, as well as personal social media accounts for players from the team, posted the "Blackout Tuesday" square.
Quarterback Drew Brees posted the image to his Instagram.
Punter Thomas Morstead posted the black square and retweeted his own statement from earlier in the week asking white players to educate themselves and support their black teammates.
Team owner Gayle Benson released a statement via the Saints Instagram story, saying that the Saints organization stands against police brutality in all forms.
"Statements are words; unified action towards a solution is what needs to come from this now," Benson said in the statement.
Saints players have been active on social media since protests began over Floyd's death, calling for reform and retweeting videos and images from the protests.