Until now, athletes taking a knee pregame in order to raise awareness of racial inequality and police brutality has been mostly exclusive to the United States. Whether people take a knee before, during or after the national anthem, people have been trying to peacefully make a statement on the inequality some face despite many believing that it’s some sort of protest against the troops or the American flag.

Germany itself has seen a rise in white supremacy and nazism, and if there’s any country who knows what horrible things nazism has done to this world, it’s Germany. And so the team from Berlin took a knee before their match against Schalke inside the Olympiastadion, the same stadium where Adolf Hitler watched his athletes compete in the 1936 Summer Olympics, 81 years ago.

When Hertha kneeled, the PA announcer said, “Berlin is colorful. Hertha BSC stands for diversity and against violence. For this reason, we are joining forces with the protest of our fellow American athletes to take a stand against discrimination. For a tolerant Berlin, both now and forevermore.”

This seems to be the first such protest both outside of the United States and in men’s soccer. Megan Rapinoe kneeled last year while Rapinoe and four other NWSL players, including Sydney Leroux and Becky Sauerbrunn remained in the locker room during the national anthem last month.

The Hertha Berlin starting XI, the bench players and coaching staff all took a knee. Hertha’s 18 players represented 10 different nations. The only American on the squad is goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann, son of Jurgen Klinsmann. Jonathan wasn’t on the matchday roster and thus wasn’t there.

It should be noted that the Bundesliga, like many European soccer leagues, do not regularly play their national anthem and it wasn’t played today. Hertha Berlin lost 2-0 to Schalke.

[ESPN FC/Photo: @HerthaBSC_EN]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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