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German soccer players ‘take a knee’ in solidarity with NFL players

Berlin's players kneel down before the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC vs FC Schalke 04 in Berlin, Germany, 14 October 2017.  .
Berlin's players kneel down before the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC vs FC Schalke 04 in Berlin, Germany, 14 October 2017. . EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

BERLIN – Hertha Berlin nodded to social struggles in the United States by kneeling before its Bundesliga home game on Saturday.

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.

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“Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!” the club said on Twitter.

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Forward Salomon Kalou also voiced his support on the social media network.

“We wanted to make a stand against racism,” Hertha captain Per Skjelbred said after the side’s 2-0 defeat.

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The action was intended to show solidarity with NFL players who have been protesting police treatment of blacks and social injustice in the U.S. by kneeling, sitting or locking arms through the anthem before games.

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Last year, then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement, which has been harshly criticized by President Donald Trump.

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“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 told Sky TV at halftime. “If we can give some lessons there with that, then that’s good.”