Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has shown footballers have the ability to use their platform to “change really important things”.
Rashford this week successfully campaigned for the government to make a U-turn and extend its free school meals voucher scheme over the summer holidays – a change of policy that will benefit 1.3m children in the UK.
Klopp, speaking to Soccer Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Everton, said: “Marcus Rashford, I have to say, I couldn’t respect more what you did – it’s unbelievable.
“It’s a bit of a shame you had to do it, but still unbelievable that you did it. It really shows that a person – not alone – but with his name and his effort can change really important things. We are all part of society and we are all involved in that.”
The death of George Floyd – an unarmed black man who died in police custody in the United States in May – has sparked protests around the world and the Premier League has followed suit in showing its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The start of every game since Wednesday’s return to action has seen all players and officials take a knee before kicking off, while names have been replaced by ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of shirts.
Klopp believes society should look to football and follow its lead with regard to how the game handles racism.
“I think equality should be in all parts of society, not just in football,” he added. “You can see at each level there are so many smart people out there and the last thing you should look for is the colour of someone’s skin.
“Being smart has nothing to do with your skin colour, it has only to do with who you are and you don’t have to be smart you can be likeable, lovable, you can be funny or whatever. It has nothing to do with your skin colour.
“For us in football it is the most natural thing. I struggle a little bit to talk about it because we live it completely different. For us they are all the same, absolutely the same. So if there is one thing you can learn from football it is this.”