Hertha Berlin Players 'Take A Knee' Before Defeat Against Schalke

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Hertha's players were cheered by the Olympiastadion crowd when the starting 11 (including former Chelsea star Salomon Kalou) all linked arms in their own half before kickoff and knelt of the pitch.

"Hertha Berlin stands for diversity and against violence". The German national anthem is not usually played before Bundesliga games, and was not on Saturday.

According to Hertha's Twitter account, the club "stands for tolerance and responsibility". US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the protests as unpatriotic and disrespectful and called for the National Football League to ban them.

According to the teams twitter page, they made a decision to take a knee "in the name of tolerance, responsibility, and a tolerant Berlin". Trump told supporters that owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem.

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

"I've been here for 21 years, and we've always been against discrimination of any kind and against racism".

The series of protests began previous year, with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking the stance during the American national anthem, as a demonstration against the treatment of black Americans by authorities. If we can fight against that as a team, and as the city of Berlin, then that's something we want to do.

The debate over protests during the national anthem became a major controversy last month when President Trump said during a campaign rally that athletes who kneel during the anthem should be fired.

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