Jadon Sancho was among the Bundesliga players to send powerful anti-racism messages as protests rage across the world, with the England international saying “we shouldn’t fear speaking out for what’s right” following the death of George Floyd.
Mr Floyd died last Monday after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck until he stopped breathing in Minneapolis in the United States.
Sancho was among those in the Bundesliga – the only major league to have so far returned to action amid the coronavirus crisis – to use his platform to call for change.
And five-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton posted on Instagram an apparent criticism of those in F1 not speaking out, saying: “I’m one of the only people of colour and yet I stand alone.”
‘Justice for George Floyd’ was scrawled on the t-shirt revealed by the Borussia Dortmund winger after scoring the first of what proved to be his maiden senior hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Paderborn.
Sancho, who was booked for removing his shirt, was part of the England squad that was subjected to sickening racist abuse in last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria.
He posted on Instagram: “Solid performance from the team!!
“Delighted to get my first career hat trick, 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 shouldn’t fear speaking out for what’s right, we have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd”
Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi also revealed a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ message by lifting up his top after scoring.
“Together we will defeat racism! Justice,” the Morocco international, who is on loan from Real Madrid, said on his Twitter account.
Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram made a similar stand in Sunday’s other Bundesliga fixture, taking a knee in tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement after scoring the first of his two goals in a 4-1 win against Union Berlin.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger posted a photo of the Frenchman’s celebration with the caption “R E S P E C T!” and “no explanation needed”.
Thuram later took to Twitter to say: “Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change #BLACK_LIVES_MATTERS.”
While those players were able to get across their message on the field, Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster took to social media to express his views.
The 20-year-old, who like Sancho was part of the England squad that won the 2017 Under-17 World Cup, highlighted the urgent need for change.
Swansea loanee Brewster, who has spoken previously of suffering racist abuse on the field, wrote on Twitter and Instagram: “This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up.
“Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard yet the pain continues…
“We’ve all been shown films like Roots, we’ve all seen films like Boyz in the Hood where this reality is covered and showcased. Yet we are still living these movies in real life. In 2020, today. ⠀
“This goes beyond just #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd, we need justice for us as Human beings.
“We don’t want special privilege. A level playing field is all we have been crying for, forever. Hear us. #BlackLivesMatter”
Hamilton posted #BlackLivesMatter to his 5.7million Twitter followers, which featured a video of a young black American girl in tears about inherent racism in society.
He then went on to post an apparent criticism of F1 colleagues on his Story, saying: “I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice.
“I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.
“The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of equality, racism, classism and that we are all the same!”
Tennis player Serena Williams tweeted Nike’s powerful ‘Don’t Do It’ video along with the message: “Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America”.
Basketball great Michael Jordan also spoke out following the death of Mr Floyd.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” he said. “I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration.
“I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of colour in our country. We have had enough.”
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