Premier League players have rallied together to show their united stand and delivered a powerful anti-racism message in support of those protesting against the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford issued a statement on social media saying society was “more divided than ever” in the aftermath of the demonstrations in the United States.
Many Liverpool players also gathered and simultaneously posted a photograph yesterday of an Anfield training session in which they all “took the knee”, an echo of the protest against racism by American footballer Colin Kaepernick in 2016, which many have since adopted as a symbolic gesture of support.
Liverpool’s group protest gesture was made ahead of their first appearance at Anfield since the Covid-19 lockdown, when Jurgen Klopp and his players returned to their stadium for a training session.
Floyd died as a result of apparent police brutality on Monday last week after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck, and global sports stars have joined in the widespread condemnation.
Rashford issued a passionate statement.
“At a time I’ve been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear more divided than ever,” it read.
“People are hurting and people need answers. Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter.”
Rashford’s remarks came right after an on-field demonstration by his England team-mate Jadon Sancho, who displayed a T-shirt in support of Floyd during Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 weekend victory over Paderborn in the Bundesliga, in which he scored a hat-trick.
Sancho, although penalised with a yellow card for lifting his football jersey to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd”, sayed later: “We shouldn’t fear speaking out for what’s right.”
Manchester United’s French star Paul Pogba also came forward and made a strong anti-racism comment on social media, while former England captain David Beckham posted on his Instagram: “My heart goes out to George’s family and I stand in solidarity with the black community and millions of others across the world who are outraged by these events. It’s heartbreaking to see that in 2020 this is still happening.”