Lewis Hamilton won’t be ‘formally investigated’ for wearing a Breonna Taylor t-shirt

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One of the most extraordinary things about 2020 is witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement move to a huge national and international conversation. It’s incredible to see BLM move to a national dialogue in America, but to see brown and black people across the world use the BLM movement to address racism internationally is huge too. So it is with Lewis Hamilton, a Black British Formula One driver/racer who is part of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Lewis is widely regarded as one of the best and most popular F1 drivers, and he’s always winning British and international sporting awards.

During yesterday’s F1 race, Lewis wore an “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” t-shirt on the podium and during press. He also kneeled during a pre-race ceremony which was dedicated to anti-racism. There were… immediate calls for Lewis to be investigated within Formula One. There were immediate calls for F1 to clarify whether their drivers could wear a “political” t-shirt when they were supposed to be shilling for their sponsors. Well, good news, I guess? Lewis Hamilton will not be “formally investigated” but F1 is going to “clarify” their rules about political or anti-racist attire:

The FIA will not launch a formal investigation into Lewis Hamilton’s wearing of a T-shirt at the Tuscan GP about the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Having considered the matter on Monday to examine its rules, clarified guidelines will be issued to drivers about arrangements for pre and post-race activities, including what may and may not be worn.

Hamilton wore the top during F1′s anti-racism ceremony before the race, when he took a knee, and then again in his immediate post-race interview and on the podium. The front of Hamilton’s shirt featured the words ‘Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’, while the back contained her picture below the words ‘say her name’.

Hamilton has shed light on issues of racial injustice and had previously worn a T-shirt with the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ at F1′s pre-race ceremonies, when the drivers have gathered at the front of the grid to show their support in the fight against racism.

[From Sky Sports]

I mean… F1 thought they could do a thing about “anti-racism” but there was still some concern about one of their drivers making a “political statement” with a t-shirt? It’s kind of funny. Corporations see the benefit of embracing a sanitized and vague anti-racism message, but if their employees or independent contractors make a more specific statement about racism – say, that the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor should be arrested – there will be repercussions and clarifications and perhaps even an informal investigation.

Imagine F1 organizing this video and then freaking out when one of their drivers actually uses his platform to talk about a specific case.

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Photos courtesy of Getty.

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27 Responses to “Lewis Hamilton won’t be ‘formally investigated’ for wearing a Breonna Taylor t-shirt”

  1. GR says:

    It is sickening that saying “murdering black people is bad” is a controversial statement.

    • Kalana says:

      Or a political statement.

      And it was an anti-racism gathering for pete’s sake. I want to know who called for an investigation.

      • Kimmie says:

        All of the non-black drivers, probably. I’m a huge F1/Lewis Hamilton fan and he’s spoken about the racism he’s experienced during his entire driving career. He’s the best F1 driver right now, he’s popular and charismatic, and he still has to deal with racism. This is their way of trying to silence the only black driver.

  2. Suz says:

    Holding the murderers of a young woman accountable is NOT political.

    • WingKingdom says:

      We all need to scream this loudly and consistently- what GR and Suz say. This is not political. There is no controversy in saying murderers should be arrested. If anyone gets “offended” by the concept that Black lives matter, they are a beast and should be tossed into a volcano.

    • Laura says:

      Wow. F1 is really making itself look bad!

  3. P says:

    I Love him. Lewis is such a great guy.

  4. Miranda says:

    F1 has been so white and so eurocentric for so long, they really have no idea what the hell is going on. They were also very testy about the pre-race anti-racism ceremonies, wanting to do it just once to shut Louis up. Thankfully, he didn’t shut up. He knows that, as the first and only Black F1 driver (to my knowledge), and arguably the greatest driver ever, he’s in a unique position to educate both his sport and its largely white fanbase. I was never a fan of his before (I unfortunately inherited my dad’s love for Ferrari), but I’m proud of him for speaking out. I hope he’s more successful in this endeavor than Bubba Wallace was.

    • Kath says:

      I love Hamilton and he is one of my favorite F1 drivers by far due to his personal history. But one of the greatest drivers ever is a bit of a reach I think… although it’s impossible to compare him to the likes of Senna, Prost, Villeneuve due to the cars, rules and technology being soo different nowadays

      • Wilma says:

        He has been dominating for a while now and is about to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record. He is one of the absolute best, maybe the best. Just look at the difference between him and his teammate while driving the same car. Just look at his stats.

      • Eleonor says:

        As someone who followed F1 for decades I agree with Wilma: he is one of the GOT among Senna and Schumacher.
        But the modern F1 is very different from the one during the Senna era, and also from the Schumacher era.

    • Kath says:

      Oh definitely he is one of the GOT right now, he’s definitely my favorite.
      But I still think that, like Eleanor said it’s such a different sport nowadays. F1 has this characteristic that the sport and cars change so much through the years that it becomes really hard to compare drivers of different eras, but I think that also makes it kind of nice ‘cause then every era gets its own hero. And Lewis is definitely the hero of this generation

  5. MF1 says:

    For those who aren’t familiar with motorsport or F1: Lewis Hamilton is the Michael Jordan, Simone Biles, or Serena Williams of his sports. He’s easily the most dominant driver in the sport for the last decade or so. He’s also the only black 1F driver *ever* in the history of the sport. (Motorsport as a whole is extremely white and mostly full of rich, privileged people.) He has told some really, really awful stories about the racism he’s been subjected to over the years.

    For a few years now, he’s been a vocal advocate for racial justice and equality but has stepped up his efforts since this summer. A bunch of the other F1 drivers have knelt with him but for the most part, the people in charge in F1 have stayed silent. (I’m talking about the people who own teams and run the F1 organization and have the real $$$.) Lewis has *not* been shy about calling them out on their bullshit.

    Anyway, I think it’s been awesome that he’s been fearlessly using his platform to talk about racism.

  6. Nanea says:

    Lewis wearing a shirt is somehow something that needs to be evaluated?

    Meanwhile not even trying to reign in racist F1 fans all these years, ever since Lewis showed up in F1, is acceptable behavior for the FIA?

    They better stay out of any attempt of censoring Lewis and Mercedes.

  7. Mtec says:

    Yet many threw a fit over not being able to rep the Confederate flag at their games anymore. Something that’s actually political. These ppl are ridiculous with their disingenuous (and racist) outrage.

  8. Valentina says:

    Lewis is on his way to be the most successful driver in F1 history. He’s a champion on and off track 🥺

  9. Lindy says:

    I’m ready to be done with professional and college sports at this point. The owners who make zillions of dollars clearly don’t get it. It’s maddening that a simple statement demanding accountability for cops who abused their authority and murdered a Black woman is considered worthy of some kind of garbage “investigation.”

  10. Jessica Ritt says:

    Breonna was killed because she was involved in the drug trade (yes, she WAS on the warrant, yes they did knock), and her boyfriend started shooting at the cops. Where is her boyfriend in all of this? Why has no one interviewed him?

    The other drug dealers in the same case were served a no-knock warrant and there were three peaceful arrests because no one started shooting at the police.

    Every loss of life is a tragedy, but it is not always a crime. The blame lies squarely on her boyfriend.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Her boyfriend shot ONCE and hit a policeman in the leg. The police fired TWENTY TWO rounds and murdered her. Her murder is their fault not his.
      Furthermore no policemen were wearing body cameras so we can’t verify their accounts of what transpires.

      Breonna’s murder is the fault of the police. This quote from an CNN article explains how their mistakes lead to her murder.
      “A CNN review of the incident found that a key miscalculation by police who assumed Taylor was home alone when she was in fact accompanied by a boyfriend who was legally armed, coupled with the decision to press forward with a high-risk, forced entry under questionable circumstances, contributed to the deadly outcome. This story is based on a review of search warrant affidavits, audio recordings of the official statements of key participants, 911 recordings and interviews with more than a dozen people.

      The chaotic scene that night was exacerbated by an officer accused by his own department of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment from an outdoor patio. He’s since been fired and is appealing his termination.“

    • Jensies says:

      Even if this was true, that she was involved in dealing or possession or whatever you’re insinuating (and I’m not at all convinced it is), does she deserve to die for that? To have 20 rounds shot into her home for that?

      Ask yourself, would the police response have been justified if she and her boyfriend looked like that batty St Louis couple in their grand house? No. Because buying or selling drugs or doing any number of things, legal or illegal, should not cost you your life. And it only seems to if you’re Black.

      Also, I believe that she’s innocent anyway.

    • Tiffany says:

      You are an embarrassment to the educational system.

  11. Sarah says:

    The only way I can see this review or whatever they are calling it being in any way justified is if there are contractual arrangements which mean drivers are contracted to wear their sponsors brands on their clothing in these situations. F1 runs on sponsorship which would then explain this being an FIA issue not a team one.

    Having said that I don’t think that is the case at all, this is exactly what Kaiser described above and another organisation wanting to make general statements but be careful not to upset too many fans, sponsors, etc. It all comes down to money. Go Lewis.

  12. February-Pisces says:

    If it’s ‘political’ then why not call out and name the political party that support the murder of an innocent black woman ? (Of course we all know which one) . Murder is a crime, fact, and the victims family deserve justice and those who killed her deserve to go to jail, any political party that thinks murders deserve to walk free don’t abide the law. I’ll say it again, anyone who wants to call this ‘political’ please name and shame which political party supports murder?

  13. Lucy says:

    Does investigation mean something different than I’m thinking? He pretty clearly wore the short, wtf do they need to know about that?

  14. Renee says:

    I watched the race on Sunday and loved that Lewis wore the shirt during the celebration ceremony. I love that he is speaking out. Good for him!

    On another note, he is, in my opinion, the best driver…hands down. His teammate, Bottas, can’t seem to pass him even though he is driving the same car.

    Also, Lewis is hot!! More posts on him please!

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