Virginia statue of black tennis icon Arthur Ashe defaced by 'White Lives Matter' graffiti

Greg Evans
Thursday 18 June 2020 13:15
sport
Picture:(Betsy Milburn/Twitter/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The statue of Arthur Ashe, one of the first African American sports icons, was reportedly defaced earlier this week when 'White Lives Matter' was spray-painted on it.

According to police, Ashe's statue, which is in Richmond, Virginia, was defaced with the initials 'WLM' but then had 'Black Lives Matter' painted over it.

Police say that the vandalism was reported on Wednesday morning as the community came together to remove the graffiti from the monument.

A video shared by Twitter user Betsy Milburn appears to show a white man walking away from the statue with a can of spray paint in his hand with Milburn reporting that he had written 'White Lives Matter.'

Milburn continued to document the story as local people showed up with cleaning products to scrub the statue clean. The man who appeared to have spray-painted the statue in the first video then returned and also started to clean the statue and he soon got into a debate with others.

After being asked why he vandalised the monument he said:

Do not all lives matter? Why is okay to spray paint on this statue Black Lives Matter and not White Lives Matter?

What’s the difference? I’m not racist. I just don’t agree with desecrating our property.

It was also pointed out to him that his car was registered in South Carolina but he remained adamant that he was "from here." He was also asked what his name was to which he replied:

My name is everyone. Everyone who has property value. Everyone here whose paid to f***ing live here and is tired of seeing this bulls**t.

The man then drives off and according to Milburn's tweets that statue was left in a clean condition without any tags.

Police have asked anyone with information about the vandalism to come forward and contact their Crime Stoppers line.

Ashe, who passed away in 1993 was the first black tennis player to compete for the United States in the Davis Cup and remains the only black man to win Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open.

His statue is one of six on Monument Avenue in Richmond. The other five all commemorate Confederate generals from the Civil War: Robert E. Lee, Thomas Jackson, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart and Matthew Fontaine Maury.

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