London. In the UK, discussions are seen about the Munich Allianz Arena’s rainbow lights, but the British engage in their own, sometimes bitter, debate. It is about racism.
When the England international got down on his knees to take a stand against racism before the start of their friendly matches, some of his own supporters mocked and ridiculed him. As a result, politicians and observers, fans and activists argued in the media whether this was a “gesture policy”, as criticized by Interior Minister Priti Patel, or whether it was an important sign of a young, confident and diverse team. “We have our own ideas of what we can do to help – and what the impact might be,” said defender Tyrone Mings.
Coach Gareth Southgate writes to fans
In the game at Wembley Stadium last week Scots joined in symbolic gesture in solidarity with England. Kickers such as Raheem Sterling are also encouraged by coach Gareth Southgate, who has become a moral leader in an almost polarized country. So he not only defends his players against the constant racist insults in the net and on the pitch, but also praises the knee-jerk and political courage shown by his opponents.
“I never believed we should all be about football,” Southgate recently wrote in an emotional open letter to “Dear England”. “I understand that on this island we want to protect our values and traditions – which we should. But not at the cost of introspection and progress.” Players are role models, hence the appeal with which Southgate The British behind the team tried to unite.” And beyond the confines of the playing field, we need to recognize their impact on society. We have to give them the confidence to stand up for the things that matter to them as their peers and as people.”
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