GEORGE FLOYD

Bundesliga stars call for greater action on racism in football

Jerome Boateng and Nicole Anyomi joined the list of Bundesliga players showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Bundesliga stars call for greater action on racism in football
AFP/Archivos / Christof Stache

German internationals Jerome Boateng and Nicole Anyomi have echoed the statements made by Jadon Sancho, Archaf Hakimi, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram by signalling their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Both Boateng and Anyomi spoke to German news broadcaster Deautsche Welle about their experiences of racism within football.

Boateng: "It's vital that we teach [children] that racism isn't acceptable"

World Cup winner Boateng said that he had encountered racism as a child growing up in Berlin, but that football had the potential to unite people from different backgrounds. He called on athletes and sportspeople to use their position to spread awareness: "Our voices are heard, we have a platform and we have reach. But I think it’s important that it’s not just limited to social media. Initiatives like Black Out Tuesday are all well and good but what we really need is to really get stuck in and do something, be that working with children or supporting other integration projects."

Boateng emphasised that education is the key to promoting inclusivity in society, and that more needs to be done to encourage people to speak out when they witness discriminatory behaviour: "It’s vital that we teach [children] 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.”

Dortmund's Jadon Sancho shows a "Justice for George Floyd" shirt as he celebrates scoring against SC Paderborn last weekend.

Anyomi: "I could cry. I'm speechless"

His comments were echoed by SGS Essen striker Anyomi, who agreed that a more direct approach is needed to tackle the issue. The 20-year-old described the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police as “terrifying” and said that more needs to be done to stamp out racism in society. "It's time for action and not just talk," Anyomi said. "Racism here, racism there but something has to happen to make it stop. I could cry. I'm speechless.” He added: "It's just not enough for the captain to read something before the game or banners or adverts with the words 'Say No to Racism.' It's not enough anymore.”

DFB shows support for players’ Black Lives Matter messages

In last weekend’s round of fixtures, a number of players revealed messages of solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters, technically contravening Bundesliga guidelines on displaying political slogans. However, after initially investigating the incidents the German Football Association (DFB) have now confirmed that those involved will face no punishment.

Fritz Keller, President of the DFB, gave his support for the players: "I expressly welcome the far-sighted decision of the DFB Control Committee and am very happy about it. The association strongly opposes any form of racism, which is why the actions of the players have our respect and understanding."