'Am I next?' Tennis star Gauff joins chorus of protest after Minneapolis death

Tennis - Australian Open -  Fourth Round
Tennis - Australian Open - Fourth Round  

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Teenage tennis phenomenon Coco Gauff released a video protesting killings of African-Americans in the United States on Friday, joining a chorus of outrage across the country that followed the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged on Friday with murder in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd after cellphone footage of the white officer kneeling on Floyd's neck prompted a wave of protests.

Sixteen-year-old African-American Gauff said on Twitter this week she would "always use my platform to help make the world a better place," and on Friday called for action from others in a TikTok video posted to her Twitter account https://twitter.com/CocoGauff/status/1266432721884192770.

"This is why I am using my voice to fight against racism," the caption reads, as the video cuts to images of Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man whose shooting in Brunswick, Georgia, was also captured on video. Three white men were charged in his death earlier this month.

Gauff's video also includes a photo of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager whose killing helped spark the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

The words, "Am I next?" appear on screen, as Gauff, wearing a black hoodie, faces the camera and raises her hands.

"I am using my voice," the caption concludes, "Will you use yours?"

Gauff joins numerous other athletes, including basketball stars LeBron James and Lisa Leslie, who have spoken out following Floyd's death.

Gauff seized the tennis spotlight at last year's Wimbledon, where she defeated her idol Venus Williams in the first round and made it through to the fourth.

She backed up that performance with strong showings at the 2019 U.S. Open and 2020 Australian Open, ultimately breaking into tennis' top 50 at the age of 15.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)


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