Rabbi Matondo: Schalke & Wales winger ‘proud’ of racism stand

Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach

Schalke and Wales winger Rabbi Matondo says he is “proud” of how young players have used their profiles to take a stand against racism.

Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, 20, is among Bundesliga stars to have highlighted the case of George Floyd, who died in police custody in the USA.

Another England player, Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, 27, took part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Birmingham.

“I feel proud that people are standing up for their rights,” said Matondo, 19.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he added: “It’s obviously tough times for a lot of people and I’m glad that a lot of players have addressed it and shown how they feel about it.

“This is the perfect time to address things now, and with our profiles we can do that in a positive way.”

Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, died while being restrained by a white Minneapolis police officer on 25 May.

Players in the Bundesliga – Germany’s top flight – were the first footballers to make their feelings known after Floyd’s death, which sparked global protests.

Sancho and Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi wore “Justice for George Floyd” T-shirts, while Schalke’s American captain Weston McKennie wore a similar armband.

Marcus Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach kneeled in tribute to Floyd after scoring, replicating the actions of NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who has protested about oppression towards black people in the United States.

Since then, Premier League teams, such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, have taken a knee in training. Schalke were among Bundesliga sides to repeat that gesture before Sunday’s game against Union Berlin.

“What Weston McKennie, Sancho and Marcus Thuram did, plus other players in the Bundesliga, was perfect,” added Matondo.

“It’s a good thing to show that black lives do matter. Of course every life matters, but in the situation we’re in, black lives matter now. So we have to show that in every aspect we can in football.”

He also admitted the Black Lives Matter movement has changed his mindset and affected how he might tackle racism if he encountered it again.

“You get an idea when you are playing foreign teams as an international that people are saying something,” said Matondo, who has four caps for Wales.

“I’m not a guy to make a big deal about it, even if it is a big deal. Sometimes I feel like that’s just the way people are; that’s the way they have been brought up.

“I feel like I would go about it differently than I would have when I was younger.”

Bundesliga as safe as it can be – Matondo

Matondo, who joined Schalke for £9.6m from Manchester City in 2019, said he was happy at the club despite their recent poor form and being linked with moves to Manchester United or Real Madrid this summer.

“I’m contracted here until 2023, so I’m happy here at Schalke, and concentrating on the games we have left,” he said.

“Hopefully, we can get better results than we have done recently and climb the table.”

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