Hertha Berlin star Salomon Kalou has explained that his side knelt before a Bundesliga game in protest against racism, which he compared to terrorism.
The German side made news with their actions prior to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Schalke, with every starter kneeling on the pitch.
Their actions mirrored protests made in the NFL by the likes of Colin Kaepernick, who adopted ‘take a knee’ during the playing of the United States’ national anthem to protest racial injustice and police violence.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been one of the most vehement critics of the movment, but according to Kalou taking a knee stands for unity, not division.
Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore! #TakeAKnee #hahohe pic.twitter.com/spZvRSGVxQ
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) 14 de octubre de 2017
“Taking a knee has nothing to do with the flag, but rather showing that we are one as people and that we going to rise together,” the former Chelsea man told ESPN .
“A human heart is too tiny to have a place for hate, because hate is such a horrible thing to put in your heart. I feel bad for people who have a lot of hate in their heart.”
The Ivory Coast international also dismissed criticisms that have been fielded in Germany, with certain media outlets dismissing the action as a publicity stunt.
“Some people will see it the wrong way, see it as a PR campaign. I think that if you are against [racism] then you should do something about it,” he added.
“Or if you’re not [doing something about it], you should not be criticising people who do something about it.
“Those people who say that you should do something about it: They can’t deny that this kind of behaviour exists. If you say that about people who do this then you should do something to show that you are against that way of behaviour. For me racism is like terrorism.”
Kalou’s former club Chelsea and their defender Antonio Rudiger found out first-hand that racism still lingers in football last week.
Champions League rivals Roma were charged by UEFA with racist behaviour when monkey chants were allegedly aimed at defender and former Roma player Rudiger, actions Kalou slammed as unacceptable.
“I have people who I know who have been through this kind of situation, and that’s sad. It’s sad that people in 2017 are still thinking that kind of way because I think we are way past the time that this was OK,” he fired.
“I don’t think that’s acceptable that this kind of people try to come to football and show their way of thinking.”