Liverpool players have shown their support for the Black Lives Matter movement as Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho called for “justice” over the death of American George Floyd.
Floyd died last Monday after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck.
A number of Liverpool players, including James Milner, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson, tweeted pictures of the squad on one knee around the centre circle at Anfield with the message, ‘Unity is strength #BlackLivesMatter’.
Manchester United forward Rashford says society is “more divided than ever” in a powerful anti-racism message.
The 22-year-old said: “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.”
It follows England team-mate Jadon Sancho revealing a message calling for “justice” after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.
Sancho put Dortmund 2-0 up 57 minutes into their Bundesliga match against Paderborn, before removing his jersey to reveal an undershirt with a message reading “justice for George Floyd”.
Floyd’s death has sparked mass protests across the US, with governors in several states calling in National Guard troops in an attempt to maintain order.
Thousands marched across London in a Black Lives Matter demonstration on Sunday as protests continued around the world in the wake of the latest death of an African-American in police custody.
Sancho, who came through Manchester City’s academy before moving to Germany in 2017, was shown a yellow card for removing his shirt during the tribute.
The 20-year-old, who was part of the England squad that was subjected to sickening racist abuse in last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria, went on to score a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory.
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 defender Achraf Hakimi also removed his shirt after scoring to reveal the same message as Sancho.
Those tributes came after another Bundesliga player, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram, went down on one knee after scoring earlier on Sunday in an apparent tribute to Floyd.
Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, briefly accepted the congratulations of his team-mates during the 4-1 win over Union Berlin, before dropping to his knee for five seconds with his head bowed.
Thuram later took to Twitter to say: “Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change #BLACK–LIVES–MATTERS.”
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”.
Another player expressing their views away from the pitch was Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster.
The 20-year-old, who like Sancho was part of the England squad that won the 2017 U17 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”
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 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Lo3pvJlTQJ
— Rhian Brewster (@RhianBrewster9) May 31, 2020
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted #BlackLivesMatter to his 5.7m Twitter follows, which featured a video of a young black American girl in tears about inherent racism in society.
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 legend Michael Jordan added: “I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. 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.”