Berlin (dpa) – Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has condemned racism in the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, and the whole Munich team may make a statement on the issue just as rivals Borussia Dortmund did on Thursday.
Dortmund defender Mats Hummels tweeted a photo of the Bundesliga side’s players kneeling in the shape of a heart, following similar statements from clubs including Liverpool and Chelsea.
“We the players of Borussia Dortmund fully support the Black Lives Matter Movement. We do not accept racism of any kind. For an open minded and tolerant world, for a better world!” Hummels said.
Boateng, the son of a German mother and Ghanian father who was been subjected to racism himself, told Deutsche Welle in an interview that education is the key because no one is born a racist.
“The case of George Floyd shows us just how widespread racism against black people is in America, and the role racial profiling plays,” Boateng said.
“Racism is found everywhere, but it is extreme in the USA.”
Bundesliga players and athletes from around the world have taken a stand against racism since the incident last week, and Boateng said that more also needs to be done in Germany.
“Racism is a topic here as well, it’s very present. In recent years, we’ve seen attacks on foreigners and different religious groups in Germany. All in all, things are travelling in a certain direction where I think: we were once further along,” he said.
The 2014 World Cup winner said athletes should not only express themselves on social media but become active, such as in working with children and supporting integration projects.
However, it all starts at young age, Boateng said.
“Everything begins with the education of children. No child in this world is born a racist. It’s up to the parents and what they tell their children,” he said.
“It’s vital that we teach them that racism isn’t acceptable and that, should they see someone being abused, they should defend them and speak up. That has to start in school. It has to be an integral part of the curriculum. Only in that way can we make progress.”
Boateng could be part of a Bayern statement against racism which influential midfielder Joshua Kimmich was quoted by British media as predicting.
“We discussed it and maybe we can do something. We maybe have to do something because we cannot give something like this a place,” Kimmich said.
It was not clear whether Bayern would take a knee like the other clubs on the training ground, or at their next match Saturday at Bayer Leverkusen – similar to a gesture of Munich’s reserve team and opponents Preussen Muenster ahead of their third-tier game Wednesday night.
Protests against racism are even more expected on the weekend in the Bundesliga after the ruling body DFB decided not to punish players Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi (both Dortmund), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Moenchengladbach) and Weston McKennie (Schalke) for such protests last weekend, and wouldn’t do so in future.
“We are one world, one club, one football team. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white,” Kimmich was quoted as saying.
“We as footballers, like with Sancho, have a lot of power to reach other people, to be role models and to say something. What we say to people outside gives us a big chance to make a statement.”