Jurgen Klopp is adamant that football must lead the way in the fight against racism – and “change the world”.
The Liverpool manager spoke passionately about support for the Black Lives Matter movement in his first press conference for three months, as he explained that his sport is the perfect role model for equality and equal opportunity.
Klopp insisted that racism is “unbelievably dumb”, and now he wants footballers to take a knee, and then stand up to fight against the evils of racial hatred, which he insists he simply can not understand.
“If football is a role model for anything in life then it is for that – for equality,” he said with real emotion. “Hopefully we can change the world, absolutely, and I hope we can do that now.
“Where everybody is exactly the same, wherever you come from, you are absolutely the same. It’s all about who you are, not which colour you have or whatever.
“I know from my point of view people may think it’s easy to say that, but it’s not easy…it is just for us in football that it is completely natural, and that is how it should be everywhere.
“It is so dumb, so unbelievably dumb not to do it like this, so it is really hard for me to even understand a little bit how it can be like this. But it is like this, and so we have to stand up, or we have to kneel – whatever we have to do we will do.”
Liverpool will join with Everton before the Merseyside derby at Goodison to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, and Klopp wants that to be a catalyst for change.
He knows the eyes of the world will be on the game, with nations across the globe taking the tv feed for a passionate encounter he expects to be fiery even without fans.
And Klopp insisted that football can lead the way in changing the world for good. ““00 per cent we have to do it to solve this situation, for now and for the future,” he said. “The past we can not change, but the future we can change and that is what we all should try.
“For me this is not a political thing, a political problem, it is a society problem. We are all part of society so we should have an opinion at least, and if you have an opinion you should speak about it.”
On racism, Klopp was blunt. “I will never understand it, I have never understood it. But it is about in this moment making a clear stance from all of us.
“That there are maybe some idiots, but there are not as many as we think. And they are not that powerful that hopefully we can change the world. We can do that now.”
Klopp also offered praise for Marcus Rashford in forcing a government u-turn on free school meals during the summer for under-privileged kids, as he took a pot shot at Boris Johnson ’s original decision to ignore hungry children.
“What Marcus Rashford did was absolutely magnificent – it’s a little bit of a shame he had to do it, because things like this should be just natural,” he said.
“But there was something to do and he did a job in an incredible manner, what he did during lockdown was absolutely fantastic.”
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