Premier League players urged to take a knee in protest at George Floyd’s death

As images of the Liverpool players’ gesture went viral on social media, the head of Kick It Out, a leading British organization which fights discrimination in professional and local football, urged every Premier League player to kneel down when the season starts again later. month.
Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after being arrested by a white police officer who, on his knees, pressed him to the ground for several minutes. His death has sparked protests around the world in recent days.
Kick it Out president Sanjay Bhandari said on Monday that Guardian players should be free to demonstrate when the current campaign resumes on June 17.

“I would encourage players to protest if they wish, but I would also encourage them to do so in a way that does not expose them to unnecessary punishment,” said Bhandari.

“If they could do it by kneeling, well if every player did, it would be a pretty powerful message. I would be interested to hear what the authorities thought, if it would be a violation of the rules. it’s about showing solidarity. “

The Premier League did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

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Liverpool players kneel in memory of George Floyd.

While the Liverpool team kneeled in training on Monday, Manchester United stars Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford also posted messages of solidarity on social media.

Bhandari’s comments came on the same day that the German Football Federation (DFB) announced that it was investigating protests by Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram during Bundesliga matches this weekend, decision for which the federation has drawn criticism.

Over the weekend, Borussia Dortmund’s Sancho received a yellow card for lifting his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd” written below. Teammate Hakimi was not booked later in the match for making the same protest.

Weston McKennie of Schalke wore an armband with the slogan “Justice for George”, while Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Mönchengladbach.

“I hope the German authorities will be lenient,” said Bhandari. “I don’t know how you can punish Marcus Thuram. I don’t think he did anything wrong. He just got on his knees. I wonder if that’s the thing I would encourage if the players wanted to protest. ”

“If you score a goal and kneel down, could everyone do it? Not just black players. White players too – everyone. I urge all authorities and all clubs to demonstrate some degree of understanding. It’s almost above It is about good and bad.

“He’s someone who was killed on the street by the police. It’s about asking for justice for him and others like him. I don’t see that as political. It’s human.”

The DFB said that the yellow card given to Sancho had nothing to do with his message of solidarity.

“Referee Daniel Siebert abided by the laws of the game here, in particular Law 12 (fouls and fouls), which states that a player will be penalized for unsportsmanlike behavior if he takes off his jersey or covers his head with his jersey after celebrating a goal. ” DFB said in a statement.

A spokesman for FIFA, the governing body of world football, said that he “fully understands the depth of the feelings and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd affair” and urged competition organizers to “use common sense” when considering possible sanctions for player protests.

“I think the players understand that if they remove the jersey, they will be reserved,” said Bhandari. “Everything is contextual and in this context, I think it would be very severe for a punishment to go beyond that. I don’t know how something like taking a knee could expose you.

“Every player should do it. It should be teams that do it. You saw the celebration of Erling Haaland after the first return match where all Borussia Dortmund players celebrated the social distancing. They could all take a knee. Racism is not about black players or brown fans. It’s about all of us.

“Racism corrodes society and we all suffer from it. Everyone should want to show solidarity and disgust.”

F1 drivers speak out

After Lewis Hamilton criticized the Formula 1 world for remaining “silent in the midst of injustice”, several high profile sports figures spoke out against Floyd’s death.

The six-time world champion, currently the only black driver on the grid, said there was “no sign of anyone in my industry which is of course a white dominated sport”.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Lando Norris, driver of McLaren, are two drivers who have spoken since.

“To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media on the whole situation and that is why I did not speak out earlier than today “wrote Leclard on Twitter. “And I was completely wrong.

“I’m still having trouble finding the words to describe the atrocity of some of the videos I’ve seen on [the] The Internet. Racism must be combated by actions, not by silence. Please actively participate, engage and encourage others to spread awareness.

“It is our responsibility to speak out against injustice. Do not remain silent. I stand [with] #BlackLivesMatters. “

Norris tweeted a link that provides people with information about Black Lives Matter and allows them to donate.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo spoke at the Hamilton posts, saying the last few days had “saddened” him.

“What has happened to George Floyd and what continues to happen in today’s society is a shame,” the Australian wrote on Instagram. “Today more than ever, we must remain united, united. Racism is toxic and must be combated not by violence or silence but by unity and action.

“We have to get up, we have to be a WE. Let’s be better people.”

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