Real Madrid star Marcel is the latest athlete to use the field of play as a platform to protest police brutality and systemic racism against Black people.
After scoring in the first half of Saturday’s 3-1 La Liga win against Eibar — the first match for Real Madrid since the coronavirus pandemic shut down Spain’s top soccer league in mid-March — the Brazilian veteran channelled his inner Colin Kaepernick and Tommie Smith, taking a knee and raising his right fist to the heavens:
The 32-year-old Marcelo joins a number of players in the German Bundesliga who have also protested during games since the May 25 killing of George Floyd sparked outrage around the world.
The left back’s show of solidarity combined two famous silent protests started by athletes. Kaepernick began taking a knee before San Francisco 49ers games in 2016 to draw attention to those same issues. Olympic sprinter Smith, along with United States teammate John Carlos, raised his first on the podium after winning a gold medal at the 1968 Games.
The Bundesliga was the only major soccer league to have returned to action when Floyd was killed. La Liga — which has a long and ugly history of not doing nearly enough to combat racism inside its stadiums — resumed this week without fans in attendance because of the health crisis.
England’s Premier League, the planet’s most-watched sports circuit, follows on Wednesday. The Prem announced last Friday that it wouldn’t punish any player who kneels. It also said that it would replace players’ names on the back of their shirts with “Black Lives Matter” for the first 12 matches following the restart.
Tony Kroos and Sergio Ramos also scored for Real Madrid on Sunday, which narrowed the gap with league-leading Barcelona to just two points. Pedro Bigas got Eibar’s only goal on the hour mark.
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