German soccer team, Hertha Berlin, shocked fans when they took a knee on the field before their match Saturday.
Players in the National Football League have been widely criticized for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice in the United States. Hertha Berlin players adopted the act as a message of tolerance and a move of solidarity with the protesting NFL players.
“Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility,” the team tweeted. “For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!”
NFL protests began last year when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem as a silent protest against racial injustice. The protest has been widely criticized as disrespectful to the American military. Players maintain that the act of peaceful protest raises awareness to the problems marginalized minorities face.
And the act has gone international.
“We are living in the 21st century, not the 18th century, but there are some people who haven’t developed their ideologies accordingly,” Hertha player Sebastian Langkamp told Sky Sports. “If we can give them a bit of help in doing so, then that’s good.”