World sports have always borne a strong stance against racism, and football has been no exception. From FIFA’s ‘Say No to Racism’ to the Premier League’s ‘No Room For Racism’, the beautiful game has seen various campaigns promoting equality and anti discrimination. The past month, following the death of George Floyd, has created a new wave of anti racism protests, which many footballers and other athletes have also been a part of, especially with the gesture of ‘Taking a Knee’. Former football icon Thierry Henry has set a new example, kneeling for a total 8 minutes 46 seconds, the duration Floyd was choked for before his death.
Henry, who is the current manager of Major League Soccer club Montreal Impact, chose to kneel down at the start of the match versus New England Revolution. Donning a T-shirt which had ‘Black Lives Matter’ inscribed on it, the former Arsenal and FC Barcelona talisman knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin had knelt down on Floyd’s neck.
Below here is a clip of the last few seconds of Henry’s gesture at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex yesterday, courtesy of the official Twitter hande of ESPN FC.
Thierry Henry took a knee for exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd. pic.twitter.com/ZxthuNqPRB
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 10, 2020
“I sat down for 8 mins and 46 seconds, I guess you guys know why,” Henry said in the post match interview.
“It was just to pay tribute and show support to the cause. That was basically it. [It’s] pretty simple,” the 42 year old Frenchman added.
The kneeling down gesture, which has been seen performed by many sportspersons in recent weeks, was popularised back in 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. A civil rights and political activist, Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem at the start of NFL games, in protest of police brutality and racial discrimination in USA.
Yesterday’s match ended 1-0 for the visitors, as New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou netted in at the 56th minute. Montreal Impact are currently 4th in Group B of the Playoffs.