The back of the shirt featured a picture of Breonna Taylor’s face with the words: ‘Say her name’. The shirt is referring to a woman who was killed in her home by plain clothes police officers, while they were attempting to serve a no-knock warrant. Her boyfriend claimed he thought they were intruders and opened fire. The police returned fire and shot Taylor eight times. The matter is still being investigated.
After wearing the T-shirt journalists asked Hamilton if the message was a ‘change in direction’, as it differed from the ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirt that he usually wears.
“Not much of a change, it’s still fighting the same thing,” said Hamilton.
“It’s just… it took me a long time to get that shirt and I’ve been wanting to wear that and bring awareness to the fact that there’s people that have been killed on the street and there’s someone that got killed in her own house, and they’re in the wrong house, and those guys are still walking free and we can’t rest, we can’t…
“We have to continue to raise awareness with it and Naomi has been doing amazing, so huge congratulations to here, and I think she’s an incredible inspiration with what she’s done with her platform. I think we just have to continue to push on the issue.”
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After the race the FIA confirmed the matter was “under active consideration” as F1’s governing body was looking into the possibility that Hamilton broke the rules that prevent drivers and teams from making political statements at the races.
The debate here was whether Hamilton’s message can be considered political. Mercedes doesn’t think so.
“We’re not bringing politics into F1, these are human rights issues that we are trying to highlight and raise awareness of. There’s a big difference,” Mercedes wrote on social media in response to people criticizing Hamilton.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also gave support to the Briton.
“It is entirely his decision,” Wolff said.
“Whatever he does, we will support. The team is fighting against any kind of racism and discrimination and it is Lewis’s personal fight for Black Lives Matter and with all the support we can give him.
“It’s his call,” concluded the Austrian
UPDATE: The FIA confirmed to BBC that it will not investigare Hamilton for wearing the shirt, but will “seek to clarify its guidelines as to what is permitted for drivers pre-race and on the podium”.