05/31 15:53 CDT Young players call for 'Justice for George Floyd' in Germany
Young players call for 'Justice for George Floyd' in Germany
By CIARAN FAHEY
AP Sports Writer
BERLIN (AP) --- Four young soccer players in Germany's Bundesliga addressed the
death of George Floyd in the United States with protests against police
brutality and calls for justice over the weekend.
England's 20-year-old winger Jadon Sancho, 21-year-old Morocco right-back
Achraf Hakimi and 22-year-old Marcus Thuram made statements on the field on
Sunday, following the example set by Schalke's American midfielder Weston
McKennie, 21, the day before.
Sancho scored his first hat trick in Borussia Dortmund's 6-1 win at Paderborn
with no fans present, but removed his jersey after his first goal to reveal a
T-shirt with the handwritten message "Justice for George Floyd" on the front.
"First professional hat trick," Sancho said on Twitter. "A bittersweet moment
personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that
we must address and help make a change. We have to come together as one & fight
for justice. We are stronger together!"
Sancho was given a yellow card for taking off his jersey, but it didn't stop
teammate Hakimi from lifting his shirt to reveal the same message after he
grabbed Dortmund's fourth goal in the 85th minute.
Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died Monday after a white Minneapolis police
officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck.
Earlier, Thuram took a knee after scoring in Borussia Mnchengladbach's 4-1 win
over Union Berlin. The Gladbach forward scored in the first half and then
dropped his left knee to the ground and rested his right arm on his right thigh
as he bowed his head in reflection. He spent five seconds in this position
before getting up again to continue.
"No explanation needed," Gladbach said on Twitter with a picture of Thuram
It evoked memories of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick
kneeling during the American national anthem before games to protest police
brutality and racial inequality amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
Thuram, who also scored Gladbach's third goal, made no comment on his gesture
after the game.
"He got to the point," Gladbach coach Marco Rose said. "He made a sign against
racism, one we all completely support of course. I believe that everyone fully
supports it, that everyone has the same thoughts he does."
Thuram is the son of French World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, a prominent
Floyd's death and footage of his neck pinned under Chauvin's knee reignited
fury over the treatment of African Americans at the hands of police, leading to
nightly protests and violent clashes with law enforcement throughout the United
On Saturday, McKennie wore an armband with the handwritten message "Justice for
George" around his left arm. McKennie later said on Twitter: "We have to stand
up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard!"
McKennie also said that he felt good using his platform to address a
Schalke, which lost 1-0 to Werder Bremen, is backing McKennie.
"We as Schalke 04 are supporting our player's position 100%," the club's
sporting director Jochen Schneider told the Bild tabloid. "The violent death of
American citizen George Floyd has shocked people all over the world. Our player
Weston McKennie sent a clear signal against this unbelievable act and against
The German soccer federation's control committee is to decide in the next days
if it intervenes, with any sanctions ultimately decided by its sports court.
However, it has not acted on similar incidents in the past. The federation has
also campaigned strongly against racism.
In 2014, Union Berlin forward Anthony Ujah displayed a T-shirt with the name of
Eric Garner, and the words "can't breathe" and "justice" in reference to
Garner's death after a police officer placed him in what appeared to be a
Ujah, who was playing for Mainz at the time, was given a warning and reminder
of the ban on political statements from the federation.
On Thursday, Ujah tweeted a picture of his protest from the time, but with
Floyd's name typed above in bold.
Second-place Dortmund stayed seven points behind league leader Bayern Munich
with five rounds to go.
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Ciarn Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP