Jadon Sancho and Marcus Thuram sent out a powerful message of solidarity towards those protesting against the killing of George Floyd by American police, after scoring in their respective Bundesliga games on Sunday.
The England winger revealed a slogan on his undershirt after scoring for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn. This followed the Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Thuram taking a knee in a goal celebration earlier on Sunday, as his side beat Union Berlin.
Sancho scored Dortmund’s second goal at Paderborn and then took off his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd”. The 20-year-old was booked by the referee, Daniel Siebert, for removing his shirt, though other Dortmund players showed they were also wearing the message of support. Sancho went on to score a hat-trick in Dortmund’s 6-1 win.
Earlier, Thuram put Mönchengladbach 2-0 up in their 4-1 home victory. The French forward, who later scored the third goal, then moved away from his teammates to go down on one knee, a symbolic protest against police brutality that the NFL player Colin Kaepernick first used in 2016.
The moment was quickly picked up by hundreds of thousands on social media as being supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. “He [Thuram] cut to the chase,” said the Gladbach manager, Marco Rose. “He took a stand against racism, one that we wholeheartedly support.”
Thuram himself tweeted after the game: “Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change #BLACK_LIVES_MATTERS.”
The former Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves, working as a pundit for BT Sport, said: “I admire these guys. I think it’s great that young players are making a stand against things that shouldn’t happen in this society. I credit Jadon Sancho for doing that.”
Sancho and Thuram’s gestures of protest came amid riots in several US cities, sparked by the death of Floyd in Minneapolis, after a policeman knelt on his neck for several minutes as he pleaded that he could not breathe. On Sunday, thousands assembled in London to protest against the killing, demonstrating in Trafalgar Square and outside the US Embassy in Battersea. Thousands had gathered in the German capital, Berlin, on Saturday, to show their solidarity.
Earlier this month, Sancho retweeted a post relating to Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger who was shot and killed in Georgia in February this year. “Black people deserve better than what the world gives us. We’re treated as less than human,” the tweet read.
On Saturday, the Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie wore a “Justice for George” armband during their defeat by Werder Bremen. The USA international tweeted after the game: “We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard!”
Following Sunday’s game, Borussia Mönchengladbach tweeted a picture of Thuram’s celebration with the caption: “No explanation needed.” Marcus Thuram is the son of the World-Cup winner Lilian, who has become one of the most eloquent and powerful voices to speak out against racism in football.
The Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster, who has spoken previously of suffering racist abuse on the field, wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Brewster said he was racially abused by the Spartak Moscow captain Leonid Mironov during a Uefa Youth League game at Prenton Park in December 2017.
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton issued his own damning condemnation of the silence on the issue from others in Formula One in an Instagram post. Hamilton is the only black driver in the sport and has been outspoken on its need for greater diversity in the past.
“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,” he wrote. “Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport.
“I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us. Just know I know who you are and I see you …”