Police have confirmed in a statement, that the College Football Hall of Fame was damaged and looted during violent protests in Atlanta over the weekend.
A state of emergency was declared and The National Guard was called into the city by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Atlanta police Sgt. John said in a statement, “Protesters continue damaging businesses, looting and setting fire to buildings. There has been looting at the College Football Hall of Fame … and many other businesses. We are grateful for the assistance being provided by multiple local and state law enforcement partners as we work to minimize the damage being caused by these individuals and to restore order in our city.”
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta was overcome with emotion as she spoke about the violence during a news conference over the weekend. “What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos,” Bottoms added.
College Football Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin said in a statement she was “heartbroken” to see the damage. The Hall of Fame moved from South Bend, Indiana, to a $68.5 million facility in Atlanta in 2014.
“We support the peaceful protests that honor George Floyd’s memory but unfortunately it deteriorated into chaos and disorder,” Beaudin said. “We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, we are better than this, better than this as a city, better than this as a country.”
“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces to rebuild the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game, many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers.”
According to Beaudin, demonstrators weren’t able to enter the museum attraction and no artifacts or displays were damaged. She said the damage was limited to the retail gift shop. “We’re just trying to get everything boarded up and secure,” she said. “We’ve had estimators and insurance out, but we don’t know the monetary damage yet.”
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement, that more needs to be done to address systematic racism but denounced resorting to vandalism or violence. “Together we will rise above this on the strength of what has always made Atlanta great — its people, its leaders of past and present and its unique culture that is welcoming to all.”
The Hall of Fame is scheduled to host SEC media days July 13-16.