Star turns at Manchester United and the Allianz Arena have been pushing for social change during a testing period for the global population
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has hailed the “exemplary” efforts of Marcus Rashford as the Manchester United forward joins him in the fight for social change.
During a testing time for the global population as a whole, a number of important issues have risen to the fore.
The Black Lives Matter movement continues to garner support from around the world, while the coronavirus pandemic has united those who want to see politicians do more for their respective nations.
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Boateng is doing his bit on all fronts, with the World Cup winner helping food charity Munchner Tafel during the Covid-19 crisis.
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He has told Goal of that work: “I had been in contact with Tafel employees for a long time because I wanted to help. It cannot be that people or entire families cannot afford food. So much food is thrown away, why is there no satisfactory concept that ensures that everyone has enough food?
“We athletes are also in demand in this regard. Marcus Rashford, for example, raised awareness of this issue and made people aware of child poverty in particular.”
Boateng added on United star Rashford, who has received an MBE for his free school meals campaign in England: “He is already very far for his age and is absolutely exemplary. One can only compliment him for his commitment.”
Rashford and Boateng have also been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement that continues to fight against all forms of racial prejudice.
There is still a lot of work to be done there, with U.S. president Donald Trump branding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick – the man who started protests by taking a knee during the playing of the American national anthem – a “son of a bitch” back in 2017.
Boateng added on that cause and his anger at such statements made by prominent public figures: “That makes me sad and, if I’m honest, also a little angry. You think you’re in a bad movie from another era because the whole thing seems so unrealistic. It is the year 2020 and such statements are being made in a country that claims to be modern and open. That’s unbelievable.
“My children also hear about these incidents and talk about them at school. I don’t want my daughter to be scared of going or flying anywhere. Mainly because I actually remember the USA differently and I really appreciate the country and its culture.”
Professional athletes have often taken centre stage in the fight against racism, with star turns in the Bundesliga such as Jadon Sancho and Marcus Thuram displaying on-field shows of support.
Asked why sportspeople are taking on more of a political role in the modern era, Boateng said: “Mainly because in this case the events are so present. After all, many racist attacks were caught on camera. Such incidents may have been noticed in the past, but there was no concrete evidence. People looked the other way for a long time, probably out of fear. That has to stop!
“It is therefore important that we athletes raise our voices and take countermeasures. We are in public and are therefore more perceived than people who are less known. But all people should raise their voices and position themselves against racism.”
Boateng intends to remain at the forefront of that fight, with plans being pieced together for a new project in 2021.
“I’m going to start something next year,” said the 32-year-old World Cup winner.
“I can’t provide any detailed information about this yet, but something is definitely planned. In addition to the racism issue, we have been concerned with the global corona pandemic for several months.
“The topic is omnipresent. As a father of school-age children, in particular, you notice a lot. The whole thing has grown to unbelievable proportions, the numbers are rising again. I hope, of course, that we can get back to normal soon.”