A German football Club Hertha Berlin showed solidarity with black American Athletes by taking a “knee” prior to their club game against Schalke 04.
The club announcer also said ahead of the move:
“Hertha BSC stands for diversity and against violence. For this reason, we are joining forces with the protest of our fellow American athletes to take a stand against discrimination. For a tolerant Berlin, both now and forevermore.”
It is unclear what connection the club has with the US or Athletes in the US, but the solidarity protest by the German club would be seen as a support for the movement by several predominantly black American athletes who has been kneeling as oppose to standing with hand on the chest during the American National anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest racial discriminations against blacks in the US.
The move may also be seen as a publicity stunt by cynics but kneeling is now well and truly beyond the US soil into mainland Europe.
Hertha Berlin has only one American on their books, Jonathan Klinsmann who plays as a goalkeeper and his white.
Majority of Hertha Berlin players are Germans, but the club is pretty much multinationals with players from Slovakia, Norway, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Ivory Coast, Australia, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Japan and the USA.
The Ivorian, former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou who plays for the club said:
“Hertha always stands against racism. If we can fight against that as a team, and as the city of Berlin, then that’s something we want to do, I think Hertha is living a good example to fight against this phenomenon. The idea comes from the whole team. We stand against racism, and we will always fight this behavior as a team, as a city.
As Hertha, we always fight against racism. For us, kneeling down is a way of fighting against this kind of behavior. It should not exist in any kind of sport. Not in NFL, and not in football or soccer, like they call it in the U.S. — it shouldn’t exist in any sport, period. For us, it’s a good example to show.”
While the “kneeling” is performed by the athletes in the US during the national anthem, there was no American anthem during the Hertha show of support, but the club and players are keen to identify with fellow athletes.
FIFA and UEFA expressly prohibit the use of football for political purpose, it is unclear if either of the two associations will intervene and punish Hertha Berlin, and notably, President Trump is yet to specifically react to the German club message.
Trump has controversially engaged the movement by labelling the athletes unpatriotic and suggests clubs should sack players that participate in the “Kneeling”