“It’s very powerful and very important that we continue this in the Champions League, especially in the final, because the whole world will look,” said Jerome Boateng, the Bayern Munich defender who has been the victim of racial abuse in the past.
After talking to his Bayern teammates about the issues raised by the BLM movement, he declared that players must use the platform provided by the Champions League to continue sending messages about racial equality by taking a knee.
Soccer Football - DFB Cup - Third Round - Bayern Munich v TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - February 5, 2020 Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng during the warm up before the match. Image credit REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
“Hopefully in some sports that are not back yet, they will join us. I think it’s very important.”
While athletes from around the world in very different disciplines have taken a knee in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign, the movement gained momentum after George Floyd’s brutal murder in police custody in May in Minneapolis, US.
Europe’s Champions League, which has been suspended since March due to the current coronavirus pandemic, will resume next month with the first matches.
In this June 27, 2020, file photo, Munich's Jerome Boateng lifts the trophy after the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, Germany. Boateng has talked to teammates about the pain of facing racist abuse. Image credit AP
The German defender, whose side hold a 3-0 lead over Chelsea heading into the second leg of their last-16 tie on August 8, claimed: “We talked about it before our break, I talked actually to Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka about it,” the 31-year-old added.
“They asked me how to support, how does it feel, what happened to you when you were younger, so I could tell them my story, what were my experiences, and why is it so painful and hard to hear those things.”