Players and officials for German football club Hertha Berlin kneeled before their Bundesliga match against Schalke on Saturday to show support for “an open-minded world.”
Before the match at their home Olympiastadion in Berlin, the Hertha players linked arms and ‘took a knee,’ showing solidarity with the wave of national anthem protests that has swept American sports.
The club posted a picture of the players kneeling on its official Twitter account, with the caption:
“Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!”
After the game, which Hertha lost 2-0, defender Sebastian Langkamp told Sky Sports:
“We are living in the 21st century, not the 18th century, but there are some people who haven’t developed their ideologies accordingly.
“If we can give them a bit of help in doing so, then that’s good.”
Michael Preetz, a Hertha sporting executive, said the protest was in solidarity with the fight against racism.
“I’ve been here for 21 years, and we’ve always been against discrimination of any kind and against racism,” he said, ESPNFC reported.
“We are Berlin. We are an open-minded city, and we stand for diversity, and that’s what the team and the club wanted to stand up for today.”
The wave of protests in the US was started in the NFL by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was drawing attention to the treatment of black Americans.
Since then, numerous other players have joined the protests in the NFL and other sports.
President Donald Trump has also weighed in on the debate, saying that clubs should fire players who protest the anthem.
The NFL players’ union is set to meet with owners next week to discuss the issue.