Wrestling coach and one-time WWE performer fired over George Floyd social media postsby Tim Bissell
[CW: Police violence]
George Floyd died on May 25th, 2020 after Derek Chauvin, of the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on the back of his neck for at least seven minutes. That incident was recorded by multiple bystanders and has inspired protests against systemic racism and police violence in Minneapolis and across the United States.
Chauvin and three other officers were fired from the police force shortly after news of the incident became widespread. On May 29th it was reported that Chauvin had been arrested and charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder.
The death of Floyd was met with countless online reactions. Figures from the world of MMA, including Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou, have expressed their shock and horror at the incident. Not all messages have been focused on the tragedy of Floyd’s death, however.
KIRO7 Michael Spears reported that Bethel High School wrestling coach Dave Hollenbeck responded to the tragedy with a series of posts that seemed designed to cast doubt over the manner in which Floyd died.
“Not dead yet,” wrote Hollenbeck as a caption alongside a picture of him with a knee on the back of his neck. “I’m doing this for Are [sic] police officers the media is a race-baiting machine and I’m tired of it I’m going to speak out every time if you don’t like that I’m sorry but I love All people.. Wake up America.”
After Hollenbeck’s posts were highlighted by multiple social media users, Hollenbeck’s employer – the Bethel School District in Washington – announced it had parted ways with their former coach.
“We have completed our investigation. Dave Hollenbeck is no longer employed by the Bethel School District. His behavior was not consistent with our equity initiatives and nondiscrimination policies,” said district spokesman Doug Boyles.
In addition to teaching high school wrestling Hollenbeck is a professional wrestler on the independent circuit. According to The Overtimer he appeared on WWE’s 205 Live program, as Rob Rollenbeck, on June 25, 2019.