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Tiger Woods describes George Floyd death as a 'shocking tragedy'

Woods, who at 21 became the first black golfer to win the Masters in 1997, calls for protesters to make a point "without burning the very neighbourhoods that we live in"

Image: Tiger Woods is among a number of sports professionals to have spoken out following George Floyd's death

Tiger Woods has described the death of American George Floyd as a “shocking tragedy” but urged for an end to the violent protests which have since surfaced across the United States.

Numerous prominent athletes, including NBA great Michael Jordan, have expressed their condemnation and voiced their support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Woods said he has always respected US law enforcement but that their use of force on Floyd, who died on May 25 after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck, "clearly" crossed a line.

Image: Woods called for a 'safer, unified society'

"I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement. They train so diligently to understand how, when and where to use force," Woods said on Twitter.

"This shocking tragedy clearly crossed that line."

Woods likened the ongoing anti-police brutality marches and rallies across the country to the Los Angeles riots of 1992, after four police officers were acquitted over the beating of motorist Rodney King.

"I remember the LA riots and learned that education is the best path forward," the 15-times major champion said.

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"We can make our points without burning the very neighbourhoods that we live in. I hope that through constructive, honest conversations we can build a safer, unified society."

Harold Varner III also issued a long and emotional statement in which he hit out at the "disgusting" scenes of violence and looting during the widespread protests.

"I know how hard it is to build something," he wrote. "Seeing justice for George Floyd turn into destruction and theft of businesses owned by African Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, and all other ethnicities is disgusting.

"I will always be behind all African Americans who are subjected to racism. I will also be behind other ethnicities in the same way. But I will never support an aggressive reaction, especially against those who have poured everything into opening this restaurant or that shop.

"Sometimes life is not simple and things don't make sense. How can we call ourselves the greatest country on earth when our standards fall to senseless killing? That's a tough an important question. But I still proudly say we aren't as fractured as it seems."

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