Goal authors in the German and Hungarian soccer leagues took off their coats to display jerseys with the phrase: “Justice for George Floyd” in English.
Other players from the English teams Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle dropped to one knee during training as a gesture of support.
Due to grief over Floyd’s death and inspired by the actions of Colin Kaepernick, athletes around the world have come together during one of the most polarized periods in modern history.
“I cannot tolerate it. I will not tolerate it. WE WILL NOT TOLERATE IT, ”Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, World Cup champion, wrote on Instagram. The Frenchman is one of the most famous footballers and showed his 41 million followers an image of him looking up at the sky with his right fist clenched.
Kaepernick’s gesture sparked a period of activism in the NFL and other sports before games. But it found no international echo.
Not like the death of Floyd, a black man and a former basketball player in a college program. He passed away after a white police officer put his knee on his neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and implored to breathe.
“It struck a chord right now, which I think made people react around the world about the environment we live in, not just in the United States but everywhere that there is discrimination and inequity,” he told The Associated Press Jonas Baer-Hoffman, secretary general of the global players union FIFPro.
“We are seeing a generation of players taking the place of athletes who in the past were socially committed and willing to support causes they believed in,” he added.
Things have escalated so much that FIFA made the unusual decision to ask tournament organizers to consider not sanctioning players who support Floyd’s call for justice during games. Soccer rules prohibit “any image, logo, and political, religious, or personal statement.”
“The application of the regulation must take into account common sense and take into account the context of the events,” said FIFA. The governing body also stated that “it fully understands the magnitude and concerns expressed by many footballers after the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case.”
When Kaepernick knelt four years ago, American Megan Rapinoe was one of the few soccer figures to publicly support her cause. But the clear similarity between Kaepernick’s action and how the police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck caused more athletes to speak out.
“At no time do we say that black lives are worth more than whites,” said DeAndre Yedlin, an American player for Newcastle on Twitter. “All we ask is that they see us as equals.”