Jurgen Klopp: It is ‘unbelievably dumb’ to judge people on skin colour

‘If football is a role model for anything in life then it is for that – for equality. Where everybody is exactly the same, wherever you come from, you are absolutely the same’

Melissa Reddy
Senior Football Writer
Friday 19 June 2020 17:38 BST
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Jurgen Klopp wants the Premier League’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement to form part of trying to change the future so people are no longer judged on race.

The Liverpool manager feels it is “unbelievably dumb” for skin colour to be a determining factor for anything in life, with the diversity on football pitches illustrating an example for wider society on togetherness and equality.

The opening two matches during the return of England’s top flight on Wednesday saw all players and the match official taking a knee for nine seconds after the first whistle.

The time is symbolic of the period George Floyd spent restrained on the ground by Minneapolis police as he was murdered.

White officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the right side of the unarmed African American’s neck for nearly nine minutes, restricting blood flow to his brain and impeding his breathing. Floyd’s death, recorded on a camera phone, sparked global protests of incredible scale and potency, which football has not shied away from.

‘The future we can change and that is what we all should try’
‘The future we can change and that is what we all should try’ (Getty)

With the Bundesliga becoming the first major division to return amid the demonstrations, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Thuram, Weston McKennie and Achraf Hakimi were among its stars to back the Black Lives Matter movement.

Liverpool took a collective knee in training under guidance from Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum, with players and clubs across the country showing their support.

The Premier League have implemented a unified stance, replacing the names on the back of the shirts of players with Black Lives Matter – a move pushed by captains like Troy Deeney and Hector Bellerin.

There will be no punishment regarding anti-racist messages on undergarments or other forms of protest.

“This is absolutely a society problem and we have to show finally – and hopefully for the last time – that we are all the same,” Klopp said. “It is just unbelievable that we still have to talk about it, because things happens still.

“It is not that we just have discussions about black managers and things like this, we should talk about it in all parts of life in all leading roles… why should anybody make a difference between two people because of one thing that is absolutely not influential?

“I will never understand it, I have never understood it. But in this moment, it’s about making a clear stance from all of us.

“If football is a role model for anything in life then it is for that – for equality. Where everybody is exactly the same, wherever you come from, you are absolutely the same. It’s all about who you are, not which colour you have or whatever.

“I know from my point of view people may think it’s easy to say that, but it’s not easy for me. It is just for us in football that it is completely natural, and that is how it should be everywhere, judge people only because of who they are and not because of other things.

“It is so dumb, so unbelievably dumb not to do it like this, so it is really hard for me to even understand a little bit how it can be like this. But it is like this and so we have to stand up, or we have to kneel – whatever we have to do we will do.

“One hundred per cent we have to do it to solve this situation, for now and for the future. The past we can not change, but the future we can change and that is what we all should try.”

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