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Liverpool stars take a knee in gesture of support for Floyd

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool players took a knee around the center circle at Anfield Stadium on Monday in a gesture of support following the death of George Floyd. Squad members posted a picture of the act on their social media accounts with the caption, “Unity is strength #BlackLivesMatter.”

The picture of 29 players from the English league leaders was taken during a training session. Star players Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and captain Jordan Henderson were among those to post the picture that was retweeted by the official account of Liverpool, which is owned by Fenway Sports Group — the U.S. company which also controls the Boston Red Sox. Liverpool also tweeted out the picture.

Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air. Floyd’s death has sparked days of protests across the U.S. and it has resonated in the soccer world.

Four players took a stand over the weekend in Germany’s Bundesliga, which is the first major soccer league to resume during the coronavirus pandemic. Another player, Anthony Modeste, made a gesture of solidarity after scoring a goal for Cologne in its match against Leipzig on Monday, standing briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.

In England, Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford, who is black, also posted a message on Twitter, saying “people are hurting and people need answers.” “Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter,” Rashford wrote, before adding #justiceforgeorgefloyd.

Rashford’s United teammate, Paul Pogba, sent a post on his Instagram account, saying he felt “anger, pity, hatred, indignation, pain, sadness” about what happened to Floyd. “Violent acts of racism can no longer be tolerated,” Pogba's message read. "I can't tolerate. I won't tolerate. WE WON'T TOLERATE.

“Racism is ignorance. LOVE is intelligence.” Chelsea said the club stood with Floyd and “all victims in the fight against discrimination, brutality and injustice”.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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