Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie has accused Donald Trump of being a racist and criticised the US president for his behaviour following the death of George Floyd, which has sparked protests around the world.
“In my eyes, he can be called racist,” McKennie, a 21-year-old US international, said in an interview with German magazine Sport Bild.
“I don’t think Trump is the right man for the job of president.
“I don’t think he understands his responsibility to the entire country.
“I think he’s ignorant. I don’t support him one bit. I don’t think he’s a man of his word.”
Floyd, who was buried on Monday, died when a white policeman kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the end of May. The death, caught on video, has sparked waves of protests in cities across the US and around the world.
Trump has adopted a tough approach to putting down the protests in US cities and he voiced his support for the police at a round table on law enforcement at the White House on Monday.
McKennie, who was born in Texas, wore an armband demanding “Justice for George” in Schalke’s first league game following the death of Floyd.
French player Marcus Thuram and England international Jadon Sancho also called for justice for Floyd after scoring goals in the Bundesliga.
Last weekend, some Bundesliga clubs, including Schalke, showed solidarity with the global protests by dropping to one knee before their matches.
McKennie said he feels it is important for sportsmen and women to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has also been supported by a host of US sports stars.
“Basically, it’s important that we athletes are also committed to the fight against racism, because we have the exposure,” he said.
“That’s why it’s up to all of us.”
US goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who is on loan from Manchester City at Bundesliga side Fortuna Duesseldorf this season, agrees that sports stars should use their platform to speak out.
“It is very urgent that something is done. It is only sad that something like this had to happen first,” the 25-year-old told AFP subsidiary SID.
“What happened in the video of George Floyd is simply inhuman.
“I am proud to be an American, but some of the things that have been done by the government in recent years are just not America, for me, and that has to change.
“As athletes we have a platform.
“We can really make a difference and make the world a better place.”