UFC star Israel Adesanya has slammed “stupid” fans who booed a show of unity for Black Lives Matter at the start of NFL’s season.
Players and staff of the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans linked arms as American sport continued to respond to the country’s strained race relations.
I suppose it is fitting for this year that the first major sporting event to be played in front of a significant number of fans since March results in behavior like this. Truly embarrassing behavior by these fans. Imagine booing a “moment of unity”?! pic.twitter.com/yyk7GZvzCY
But their gesture was met with a chorus of boos, to the surprise of many.
Undefeated MMA fighter Adesanya lashed out on Twitter and blasted fans for rejecting the action.
He wrote: “Fans as individuals can be awesome, but as a whole they are meek and stupid sometimes.
“I said what I said, bite me.”
The Nigerian-born New Zealand fighter was not alone in condemning fan reaction, with others branding it a “joke” and “truly embarrassing.”
The mixed martial artist, nicknamed the Last Stylebender and with a 19-0 record in the Octogon, saw his post liked 3,000 times.
He is set to face 13-0 fighter Paulo Costa at the end of the month following a war of words between the pair.
The NFL has become just the latest sport to acknowledge America’s summer of unrest after the killing of George Floyd in May led sports stars to speak out against racism.
The taking the knee gesture, popularised by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, has become commonplace in many sports, including English football since its restart in June.
Fans as individuals can be awesome, but as a whole they are meek and stupid sometimes.
I said what I said, bite me 🤷🏾♂️ https://t.co/BtwMO5Jfwf
The league even went so far as to have the BLM text on players’ shirts after football restarted in June, but this has been ditched this season for a new anti-racism message.
The shooting of Jacob Blake last month by police even led to some sports players even boycotting their games in protest as fury intensified over police brutality.
The NBA postponed three playoff games and tennis ace Naomi Osaka briefly pulled out of the Western and Southern Open tournament.