Schalke’s US international Weston McKennie documents his solidarity with George Floyd, who was killed in a police operation in Minneapolis, in the game against Bremen. A day later, Marcus Thuram, Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi followed.
Schalke’s Weston McKennie wore an armband with the words “Justice for George”, Mönchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram demonstratively fell on his knees and Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi expressed his displeasure on a T-shirt. Four football professionals used the 29th Bundesliga matchday to protest the violent death of US citizen George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“We have to stand up for what we believe in, and I believe it is time to be heard!” McKennie wrote on Twitter. In memory of the African American killed in a police operation, the 21-year-old had worn an armband with the clear message during the second half of the game against Bremen. A strong sign against racism and police violence, but which will concern the German Football Association.
“The control committee of the DFB will take care of this matter over the next few days and examine the facts,” said the chairman of the committee, Anton Nachreiner, on dpa request. In principle, the German Football League (DFL) and the DFB do not allow political messages to be displayed on playing clothes or during matches. In the past, however, one eye was turned a blind eye – especially since the associations support numerous campaigns against racism.
Clubs welcome their players’ actions
FC Schalke was demonstratively behind its players. «We at Schalke 04 support our player’s attitude one hundred percent. The violent death of US citizen George Floyd has shocked people worldwide. Our player Weston McKennie sent a clear signal against this incomprehensible act and against racism yesterday, »said sports director Jochen Schneider on Sunday of the« Bild ».
The Gladbachers also welcomed Thuram’s action on Sunday in a 4-1 victory over Union Berlin. The professional had hailed his first goal 2-0 for Borussia on Sunday with a knee. “He got to the point, he gave a signal against racism, which of course we all support completely,” said coach Marco Rose about the scene during the game and added: “I think that everyone fully supports that they all share the same thoughts as him. »
The club wrote a photo on Twitter: “A special moment in Borussia Park.” The Gladbacher account in English tweeted: «No explanation required.» In American football, quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched a wave of protests against black oppression and police violence in the United States in 2016. The 32-year-old went on one knee during the national anthem.
FC Schalke had distributed a photo of McKennie with the armband himself on an official Twitter account in the USA, with the hashtag #JusticeforGeorge. “Being able to use my platform to draw attention to a problem that has existed for a long time feels good !!!”, wrote the US international.
BVB players move along
Sancho and Hakimi also took part in the protest on Sunday when BVB won in Paderborn. After Sancho’s goal to 2-0 in the 57th minute, the 20-year-old Englishman pulled his jersey over his head and showed a shirt that reads “Justice for George Floyd”. Then he saw the yellow card.
In the «DFL guideline for playing clothes and equipment» it says: «Political and / or other messages on the equipment are not allowed under any circumstances.» There are similar passages in the DFB regulations. However, the referee of a game has no sanction options. That would be the task of the DFB Sports Court after the Control Committee raised charges.
Warning or punishment?
There are comparable cases. In 2014, Anthony Ujah from Union Berlin showed as a player at 1. FC Köln a t-shirt that said “I can’t breathe”. At the time, Eric Garner was killed in a similar way to Floyd. “I can’t breathe” became the motto of the protest movement that is currently flaring up in the United States. The DFB left it in the Ujah case six years ago with a warning and reminder of the ban on political statements.
Floyd’s death is currently moving the United States. At the end of the arrest by four officers, a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd also said: “I can’t breathe” and died as a result of the operation. Since then there have been massive protests against racism and riots in Minneapolis and other US cities. Numerous US athletes also expressed their anger. Like, for example, the 16-year-old tennis player Coco Gauff.