(Reuters) – United States soccer player Weston McKennie joined the chorus of outrage from athletes protesting against the death of a black man in Minneapolis by wearing an armband with the message “Justice for George” in a German league game on Saturday.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged on Friday with murder in the death of unarmed 46-year-old George Floyd after cellphone footage of the white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck prompted a wave of protests.
Schalke 04’s McKennie followed several other current and former athletes, including NBA champion Stephen Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and teenage tennis player Coco Gauff, who have also spoken out about Floyd’s death.
“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on too long feels good,” McKennie tweeted here after Schalke’s Bundesliga match versus Werder Bremen.
“We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard,” he added, using the hashtags “justiceforgeorgefloyd” and “saynotoracism”.
The 21-year-old midfielder, who grew up in Texas but turned down a contract from FC Dallas to sign for Schalke in 2016, has scored twice in 20 league games this season for the German club, who lost 1-0 at home on Saturday.
McKennie has played 19 times for the U.S. national team, scoring six goals and making three assists.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris