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Statue Of Black Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe Defaced With ‘White Lives Matter’

(Tony Duffy / Staff)

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“White Lives Matter” was spray-painted on the statue of a black tennis legend on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, which includes statues of Confederate leaders, the Associated Press reported.

Vandals also tagged the base of the Arthur Ashe monument in Virginia’s capital, writing acronym for White Lives Matter, “WLM” in white paint, the AP reported. “BLM” was written over “WLM” later.

Police said members of the community were cleaning red graffiti off the statue before law enforcement was alerted around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, the AP reported.

The statue of tennis legend Arthur Ashe stands on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, the street includes statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, according to Tennis.com. The statue of Ashe was added to Monument Avenue three years after he died from AIDS complications in 1993.

The bronze statue features Ashe holding a tennis racquet in one hand and two books in the other while children look up at him, according to Tennis.com. (RELATED: Concrete Wall Put Up Around Confederate Statue In Virginia)

Sculptor Paul di Pasquale was inspired after meeting Ashe at a tennis workshop for kids, according to Tennis. com.

“This is an internationally loved man. He is a product of Virginia education, and Richmond schools, and a hero who has used his success as an athlete and a bully pulpit for social concerns,” di Pasquale said.

Shortly after Ashe approved di Pasquale’s concept of the statue, the tennis legend died, according to Tennis.com. After attending Ashe’s funeral, di Pasquale found a package from Ashe containing photos and a note that read, “Hey, Paul, I wanted you to have these. Let’s talk soon.”

Writing that note was the “last thing he did,” Ashe’s wife, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe said, according to Tennis.com.

Statues of Christopher Columbus and other Confederate leaders have been targets for destruction amid nationwide protests following George Floyd’s death. Floyd died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, video showed.

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond will be removed, Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on June 3, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Richmond Police did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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