Liverpool, Chelsea & Man United’s stars pay tribute to George Floyd
After several footballers in the Bundesliga displayed tributes to murdered American George Floyd last weekend, Premier League footballers have begun to voice their opinions as well.
On Monday, Liverpool’s first-team took a knee around the centre-circle at Anfield.
The entire squad knelt in Anfield’s centre circle ahead of today’s training session in a powerful show of support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
— Liverpool FC (at 🏠) (@LFC) June 1, 2020
The Athletic have reported that Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum lead the Liverpool squad in the tribute:
Having been deeply affected by the death of George Floyd, an African American in police custody in Minneapolis, and the protests against racism which have followed across the United States, Van Dijk and Wijnaldum suggested a collective show of solidarity before Monday’s training session at Anfield. Their team-mates backed them to the hilt.
Van Dijk & Wijnaldum were the driving force behind #LFC‘s tribute to George Floyd at Anfield today.
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) June 1, 2020
Chelsea have also got involved.
The Blues released a statement on social media, which read: “Chelsea Football Club stands together with George Floyd and all victims in the fight against discrimination, brutality and injustice.”
— Chelsea FC (at 🏡) (@ChelseaFC) June 1, 2020
Also, Manchester United stars Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba have also taken to social media to voice their reactions.
In a post on Instagram, Rashford wrote: “Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter.”
View this post on Instagram
I know you guys haven’t heard from me in a few days. I’ve been trying to process what is going on in the world. At a time I’ve been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear to me more divided than ever. People are hurting and people need answers. Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter. #justiceforgeorgefloyd #justiceforahmaudarbery #justiceforbreonnataylor
Man United’s Pogba also took to Instagram to offer his thoughts: “Sadness for George and for all black people who suffer from racism EVERY DAY! Whether in football, at work, at school, ANYWHERE! This has to stop, once and for all! Not tomorrow or the next day, it has to end TODAY! Violent acts of racism can no longer be tolerated. I can’t tolerate. I won’t tolerate. WE WON’T TOLERATE. Racism is ignorance. LOVE is intelligence.”
View this post on Instagram
During the past few days I have thought a lot about how to express my feelings about what happened in Minneapolis. I felt anger, pity, hatred, indignation, pain, sadness. Sadness for George and for all black people who suffer from racism EVERY DAY! Whether in football, at work, at school, ANYWHERE! This has to stop, once and for all! Not tomorrow or the next day, it has to end TODAY! Violent acts of racism can no longer be tolerated. I can’t tolerate I won’t tolerate WE WON’T TOLERATE Racism is ignorance LOVE is intelligence STOP the silence STOP racism #NoToRacismWeAllOne #JusticeForFloyd #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter
Kick It Out petition FA to stop sanctions
Kick It Out are also trying to raise the profile of the George Floyd murder.
The activist organisation is encouraging more Premier League players and institutions to add their voices behind the calls to fight racism.
Sanjay Bhandari, the chairman of Kick It Out, has told the Guardian:
If you score a goal and take a knee could everyone do that? Not just the black players. The white players too – everyone.
Every player should do it. It should be teams doing it… . They could all take a knee.
Racism’s not about black players or brown fans. It’s about all of us. Racism corrodes society and we’re all hurt by it. Everyone should want to demonstrate their solidarity and disgust.
I would like to encourage the players to protest if they want to but I would also like to encourage them to do it in a way that doesn’t expose them to unnecessary sanction.
Currently, there’s a ban on players displaying political statements in the Premier League.
Previously, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has fallen foul of those rules when he’s displayed imagery in support of Catalan independence in Spain.
Similarly, yesterday we reported on how the German FA are considering sanctioning four players – Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram – for how they acted in solidarity with the “Justice for George” campaign last weekend.
However, according to Kick It Out, “(there’s) nothing political about footballers standing against racism.”
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) June 2, 2020
FIFA release a statement
It’s worth noting that FIFA, as reported in the Guardian, have issued the following statement regarding George Floyd:
FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case.
The application of the laws of the game … is left for the competitions’ organizers, which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events.
This appears to be a directive from FIFA to absolve any footballers of any possible sanctions, however the final decision to issue any punishments remains in the hands of the local FAs.