Hertha Berlin Became First European Sports Team To 'Take A Knee'
No stranger to political and social statements the Olympiastadion on Saturday was witness to the first sports team outside the US 'taking the knee'.
Whilst its doubtful the actions of Die Alte Dame will have the same impact as Jesse Owens' four gold medals in 1936 the move has been a boost to the NFL teams still navigating their conscience, owners' directives and Donald J Trump.
Hertha's starting lineup linked arms and took a knee on the pitch, while Pal Dardai's coaching staff, general manager Michael Preetz, club officials and substitutes took a knee off it before playing Schalke.
Wow!!! The players from Hertha Berlin from the German Premier League took a knee in solidarity with American athletes protesting injustice! pic.twitter.com/hgAjG0c2y5- Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 14, 2017
The coaches and managers from Hertha Berlin took a knee against American injustice as well. Solidarity with American athletes pic.twitter.com/Bu4KuCT21n- Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 14, 2017
"Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!" the club said on Twitter. "We're no longer living in the 18th century but in the 21st century. There are some people, however, who are not that far ideologically yet," Hertha defender Sebastian Langkamp said. "If we can give some lessons there with that, then that's good."
Ivory Coast forward Salomon Kalou said the whole team was unanimous in its support for the action."We stand against racists and that's our way of sharing that. We are always going to fight against this kind of behavior, as a team and as a city," said Kalou.
The initial reaction to fans on the Ostcurve was supportive with many applauding, However, fan sites seemed mixed with a number wanting to keep politics out of sport with a number suggesting that the team had stayed on their knees during and after the game. It will be interesting to see if other Bundesliga teams follow Hertha and if the solidarity with their NFL equivalents spreads to other European leagues and sports.
WORDS BY CRAIG DICKINSON
Featured Image Credit: PA