George Floyd: Kick It Out urges all players to take a knee in solidarity
German football federation defends decision to assess whether four players who made gestures in solidarity with Floyd at weekend should face sanctions
Last Updated: 02/06/20 5:26pm
Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari has urged all players to take a knee for George Floyd because "we're all hurt by racism".
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His death has sparked unrest across the US and the imposition of curfews in dozens of cities, with sports professionals also lending their voices in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Thuram led protests in the Bundesliga, with the latter taking a knee in a goal celebration over the weekend - akin to quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests in the NFL against social injustice and police brutality.
Liverpool's squad was pictured kneeling during training on Monday, with the caption: "Unity is strength. BlackLivesMatter" while Manchester United forward Rashford said society is "more divided than ever" in a powerful anti-racism message.
Kick It Out chairman Bhandari told the Guardian: "If you score a goal and take a knee could everyone do that? Not just the black players, the white players too, everyone. Every player should do it.
"It should be teams doing it... They could all take a knee. Racism's not about black players or brown fans, it's about all of us. Racism corrodes society and we're all hurt by it."
Bhandari said he hoped players would not be cautioned or punished for expressing their support in a manner they saw fit.
"I would like to encourage the players to protest if they want to but I would also like to encourage them to do it in a way that doesn't expose them to unnecessary sanction," Bhandari added.
"I would urge all the authorities and all the clubs to show a degree of understanding. This is almost above politics, this is about right and wrong."
Borussia Dortmund and England forward Sancho was booked for removing his jersey after scoring in a Bundesliga match against SC Paderborn. He was wearing a T-shirt underneath which had 'Justice for George Floyd' written on it.
The German football federation (DFB) said the booking was not to do with the message. It says it is because his actions broke a rule that states players who celebrate goals by taking off their jerseys or lifting them over their heads must be booked for unsporting behaviour.
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During the past few days I have thought a lot about how to express my feelings about what happened in Minneapolis. I felt anger, pity, hatred, indignation, pain, sadness. Sadness for George and for all black people who suffer from racism EVERY DAY! Whether in football, at work, at school, ANYWHERE! This has to stop, once and for all! Not tomorrow or the next day, it has to end TODAY! Violent acts of racism can no longer be tolerated. I can’t tolerate I won’t tolerate WE WON’T TOLERATE Racism is ignorance LOVE is intelligence STOP the silence STOP racism #NoToRacismWeAllOne #JusticeForFloyd #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter
The DFB has also defended its decision to assess whether four young Bundesliga players who made gestures in solidarity with Floyd over the weekend must face sanctions.
Sancho's Dortmund team-mate, Achraf Hakimi, 21, who displayed the same message in Sunday's game, was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head.
To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!! We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard! #justiceforgeorgefloyd #saynotoracism pic.twitter.com/TRB1AGm0Qx— Weston McKennie (@WMckennie) May 30, 2020
The DFB control committee is looking into their gestures and those made by Schalke's 21-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie and Borussia Monchengladbach's 22-year-old French forward Marcus Thuram to see if the four players broke laws that prohibit players from displaying political, religious or personal slogans.
McKennie was the first to make a statement when he wore an armband with the handwritten message, 'Justice for George', around his left arm on Saturday.
Thuram on Sunday took a knee after scoring in Borussia Monchengladbach's win over Union Berlin.
Sancho and Hakimi followed suit later Sunday.