A German soccer team knelt in unity with American NFL players during a Saturday match in Berlin, showing a united front for racial equality and justice.
Members of the Hertha Berlin soccer team carried out the gesture ahead of their game against the Schalke in Olympic Stadium. All of the starting lineup and the team’s substitutes along with coaching staff, were photographed kneeling.
As the team knelt, an announcer explained the demonstration over the loudspeaker. “Berlin is colorful,” the announcer said. “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.”
The team later posted images from their social media accounts, confirming their act of solidarity.
“We wanted to make a stand against racism,” Hertha’s captain, Per Skjelbred, said.
“We’re no longer living in the 18th century but in the 21st century,” Hertha defender Sebastian Langkamp said in a halftime interview with Sky TV. “There are some people, however, who are not that far ideologically yet. If we can give some lessons there with that, then that’s good.”
Saturday’s demonstration was just one of many that athletes outside of football have taken to show accordance with #TakeAKnee during the National Anthem, most recently spurred ousted quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
This year, the demonstrations have increased, specifically after a divisive speech by Donald Trump compelled many players and owners who sat out last year. Critics viewed the protests as polarizing after many pointed out that the league only took action after Trump’s targeted speech and also took issue with whether players knelt, locked arms or sat in the locker room during the National Anthem.
Yet many still view taking a knee as an important and critical protest in the unyielding fight for justice.