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Berlin soccer team takes a knee to support National Football League players

17 October 2017

Players and coaches from Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin kneeled prior to Saturday's game against Schalke in a stand "for diversity and against violence". Because European soccer teams don't play the national anthem before games, the players took to the knee after the two opposing teams greeted each other at midfield before kickoff.

Hertha Berlin nodded to social struggles in the United States by kneeling before its Bundesliga home game on Saturday.

On Twitter, Hertha tweeted that it stood for "a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world".

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The whole team linked arms outside the centre circle and made the kneeling gesture shortly before kick-off, while substitutes and management replicated the move on the touchline. Hertha Berlin's American-born goalie Jonathan Klinsmann, son of former USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, was not in the match-day squad and was not involved.

Hertha sporting executive Michael Preetz explained his club's actions to reporters after the match.

"For this reason, we are joining forces with the protest of our fellow American athletes to take a stand against discrimination", the message continued. "For a tolerant Berlin, both now and forevermore".

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Just last week US Vice-President Mike Pence walked out of a Colts game in his home state of in with his wife after players knelt during the American national anthem.

President Trump reignited the controversy last month during a campaign rally in Alabama.

"A second picture tweeted from the account shows more players kneeling in front of the team's bench with the hashtag "#TakeAKnee", which has been used by many in support of National Football League players such as Colin Kaepernick.

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Berlin soccer team takes a knee to support National Football League players