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Sports stars add international edge to call for justice for George Floyd

Marcus Thuram celebrated the first of his two goals for Borussia Mönchengladbach with a gesture associated with the fight for racial justice in the United States.
Marcus Thuram celebrated the first of his two goals for Borussia Mönchengladbach with a gesture associated with the fight for racial justice in the United States. POOL/AFP
4 min

French footballer Marcus Thuram and England international Jadon Sancho have joined an array of international sports stars in their backing of the campaign for racial justice in the United States following the killing of the unarmed black man George Floyd.

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Thuram went down on one knee after scoring Borussia Moenchengladbach’s second goal just before half-time against FC Union Berlin at Borussia Park.

The 22-year-old’s gesture on Sunday echoed the protest against racism spearheaded by the former American football star Colin Kaepernick. It was also a grisly reminder of the manner in which Floyd died.

Police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck after placing him in handcuffs in the mid-western city of Minneapolis.

At half-time, Moenchengladbach tweeted a photo of Thuram.

 Gladbach coach Marco Rose said Thuram had his support.

"Marcus has made the point. He has set an example against racism that we all support," Rose said of Thuram, whose World Cup-winning father, Lilian, set up the Education against Racism foundation in Paris after his career.

Thuram doubled his tally in the 59th minute after Sebastian Andersson had reduced the deficit. Alassane Plea secured the points for Moenchengladbach nine minutes from time. The 4-1 victory took Rose’s men into third place in the Bundesliga. 

Chase for Bayern

Borussia Dortmund maintained their slim hopes of catching pacesetters Bayern Munich with a 6-1 annihilation of Paderborn on Sunday.

Sancho marked one of his three goals by lifting his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the words: "Justice for George Floyd.”

Dortmund remain seven points behind Bayern with five games left of a season that was interrupted for two months as Germany battled against the coronavirus pandemic.

Jordan airs views

In the United States where Floyd died on 25 May, the former basketball star, Michael Jordan, lent his voice to the outcry.

"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," he said in a statement. "I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country.

"We have had enough," said Jordan, who was notoriously reluctant to comment on social issues during his playing career. "We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability."

Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris were among a number of active NBA players who took part in demonstrations over the weekend.

Brown led a peaceful protest march in Atlanta, Georgia. "First and foremost, I'm a black man and I'm a member of this community," the Georgia native said.

Maintain perspective

Los Angeles Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, himself the son of a policeman, said that as the number of protests rose, it was imperative to keep Floyd's death at the forefront.

"Too often, people rush to judge the response, instead of the actions that prompted it.

"We have allowed too many tragedies to pass in vain. This isn't an African-American issue. This is a human issue," Rivers said.

"I can't and still can't find the words to say or express how sad I feel," 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams said in an Instagram post. "We are black people, and we shouldn't have to feel like this."

After Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton lambasted the motor sports world for failing to speak out about the killing, seven drivers including Ferrari's Charles Leclerc responded.

"To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation,” said 22-year-old Leclerc.

“And this is why I haven’t expressed myself earlier than today,” he said in one of three posts on the subject on Twitter.

Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris, George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Nicholas Latifi and Sergio Pérez also threw their weight behind Hamilton’s stance.

 

 

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