Thuram praises Kaepernick, LeBron & Rapinoe for changing society

By Sports Desk November 30, 2021

Former France defender Lilian Thuram believes the efforts of Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and other athletes in speaking out against racism have changed society for the better.

Thuram praised Kaepernick and James and others who have made their voices heard, including footballers Jordan Henderson and Megan Rapinoe, and England manager Gareth Southgate.

However, the 49-year-old urged more players to speak up on the issue and also called for increased education on the subject.

"If you know the history of racism, you know to what extent high-level sportsmen and women have made society change for the better," Thuram told Stats Perform.

"There are a lot of people of very good will who want to get out of these patterns of domination linked to skin colour.

"Recently I was very happy to hear the words of Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool captain. The coach of the English national team has also spoken out about these issues. LeBron James, when he speaks, it's important. When you see Rapinoe, it's important. Colin Kaepernick, I think he's extraordinary.

"Because, to be very outspoken, very often, when you look at history, is to look for trouble. That's why some people don't say anything and act like they don't know. Most of the players are aware of what is going on and it doesn't matter what colour they are.

"So, yes, there are players [who are speaking out]. But you must encourage the players who are silent to speak up. It's very important. You must educate the players. You must educate the children to say: 'No, I don't accept that.'"

Thuram says he had to contend with racial prejudices in his playing days and encouraged people to be more aware of the issue and to stand up against it.

"I myself, when I was a young football player, was subject to a lot of racial prejudice," Thuram continued. "In [my] book, I recount an exchange with one of my team-mates after training, and he said to me: 'You know what, with your physique and my intelligence, I would be an incredible player.'

"First, to change things, you have to be aware of the problem.  It would be interesting to say: 'Racism is a real scourge in our country, we must make sure it changes.'

"Racism is primarily a way of thinking. It is a series of prejudices. And you are the history, we are the history of these prejudices. Racism is part of our cultural heritage, as is sexism, as are the accents, the languages you speak.

"That's why I say again, I am not looking to make people feel guilty. I simply invite people to question themselves and to understand that.

"Therefore, we must invite people to take a stand and not think that we can remain neutral when talking about racism. If you are neutral, it means that you support what is happening. Many people who do not experience racism think that racism is not their problem. 

"Therefore, I invite readers to think about this. Can we escape these identities and consider ourselves above all as human beings?"

Related items

  • Salah and Mane not Liverpool's only weapons – Lijnders Salah and Mane not Liverpool's only weapons – Lijnders

    Liverpool are proving that they are not just reliant on Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, according to assistant manager Pep Lijnders.

    Jurgen Klopp's side are having to do without two of their star attackers, with Salah and Mane on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt and Senegal respectively.

    Naby Keita is also featuring at the tournament, with the midfielder a talisman for Guinea, who like Senegal have progressed from Group B. Salah's Egypt will guarantee their qualification from Group D with a win over Sudan on Wednesday.

    The tournament runs until February 6. Senegal were runners-up in 2019 while Egypt are the most successful team in AFCON history with seven titles, and both are fancied to go far this time around in Cameroon.

    Liverpool have been without the trio since just after a draw with Chelsea on January 2, and though they subsequently beat Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup, the absence of Mane and the Premier League's leading scorer Salah was particularly felt in a 0-0 draw with 10-man Arsenal at Anfield in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on January 13.

    The Gunners had Granit Xhaka sent off midway through the first half yet Liverpool mustered only one effort on target, with that shot coming in stoppage time, after Takumi Minamino had spurned a glorious chance.

    The Reds bounced back with a routine 3-0 win over Brentford on Sunday, with Liverpool having 27 shots (13 on target) and controlling 68 per cent of the possession.

    Liverpool had 3.1 expected goals against Brentford, the joint-fourth highest total for them in a league game this season, while they have only managed more shots in one top-flight fixture (against Leeds United in September), with their shots-on-target total the most in a single match.

    Asked ahead of the second leg against Arsenal how pleased he was with Liverpool's reaction to being without such key players, Lijnders told a news conference: "We did it before. One of the most memorable games [the 4-0 Champions League win over Barcelona in 2019] was without a few of them [Salah and Roberto Firmino].

    "When we have our squad, we knew that we needed to have different weapons, create goals from everywhere, dribbles from everywhere, attacks from everywhere, not just based on counter-attacks or the speed of these two boys.

    "They are our front line but what I like is we don't just have one weapon, we have so many different ways to attack. How we are evolving as a team, developing with our positional game, it's important and we really like it."

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped up on Sunday, scoring Liverpool's second and playing three key passes, second only to Fabinho (four), though the midfielder will not be available against his former club on Thursday due to an ankle injury sustained against Brentford.

    "I spoke with him and he feels okay, it's not that bad," Lijnders explained. "He's hoping that he will make the weekend. Tomorrow will be way too soon. We will assess that day by day."

    While Liverpool beat Brentford, Arsenal were not in action on Sunday, with the Premier League having granted the Gunners' request to postpone the north London derby clash with Tottenham due to a COVID-19 case within the squad, though injuries and players away at AFCON were also cited as a reason.

    "We had our own experience with this, it's really difficult to judge from the outside," said Lijnders, who had to take charge of the Chelsea clash this month when Klopp was self-isolating due to COVID-19.

    "We saw that with our situation. I fully respect the submissions because I trust 100 per cent the medical department of each Premier League club. I think this is the most important, the trust in these decisions."

  • Haaland ultimatum is 'total b***s***', claims Watzke Haaland ultimatum is 'total b***s***', claims Watzke

    Hans-Joachim Watzke has slammed the suggestion that Borussia Dortmund have issued Erling Haaland an ultimatum over his future as "total b***s***".

    Haaland, who joined Dortmund in January 2020 from Austrian club Salzburg, is one of the most sought-after talents in European football.

    Since the Norway forward made his Dortmund debut just over two years ago, he has netted 79 goals in all competitions.

    He marked his two-year anniversary with a goal on Tuesday, though Dortmund nevertheless suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to St Pauli in the DFB-Pokal.

    It means that, for the first time since 2006-07, neither Dortmund nor Bayern Munich will contend in the DFB-Pokal quarter-finals, while none of the winners from across the previous 26 years are left in this season's competition.

    That defeat followed on from an emphatic Bundesliga win over Freiburg on Friday, though it was after that match that Haaland commented on his future.

    The 21-year-old claimed Dortmund had been pressuring to make a decision on his next move, and that he would soon make a call on whether he will look to leave the club at the end of the season. 

    However, Dortmund chief executive Watzke, who did over the weekend acknowledge they had stressed the importance of Haaland making a decision soon to the striker, has insisted the club have not made any ultimatum.

    "Some in the media write that BVB would give him an ultimatum, which is total bullshit," he told ARD.

    "Dortmund didn't put the gun on his chest."

    Asked if Dortmund had been unsettled by Haaland's comments, Watzke added: "Erling was obviously a bit bothered by it, but we can't influence that. We told him that too."

    Since his Dortmund bow, only Robert Lewandowski (107) has scored more goals than Haaland across all competitions, of players in Europe's top five leagues.

    Haaland averages a goal every 80 minutes, while his tally has come from an expected goals (xG) of 63, suggesting his finishing has been way above the standard that would be expected given the quality of chances that have been created for him.

    As for big chances – which Opta define as an opportunity from which a player would reasonably be expected to score – Haaland has been presented with 110 and converted 65 of them.

    That equals a conversion rate of 59.1 per cent, which is better than eight of the top 10 goalscorers across Europe's top five leagues in that time, with Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, who has netted 32 of his 49 big chances (65.3 per cent) having a better conversion rate.

  • Yorkshire appoint Ottis Gibson as head coach on three-year deal Yorkshire appoint Ottis Gibson as head coach on three-year deal

    Yorkshire have appointed former West Indies all-rounder and coach Ottis Gibson on a three-year deal.

    The 52-year-old takes charge following the departure of Andrew Gale and the rest of the coaching staff late last year, which came after an investigation into claims made by Azeem Rafiq.

    "I'm extremely honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to join Yorkshire County Cricket Club as head coach," he said.

    "This is one of the most prestigious roles in English County Cricket, and I am really looking forward to working with this talented group of players to take the club forward. I've spoken at length with Goughy [Darren Gough] about the direction the club is heading in and I'm excited to be a part of that future."

    A 100-page independent report in early November upheld allegations by Rafiq that he had been the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time at Yorkshire.

    Former chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over the club's handling of the investigation, with Kamlesh Patel stepping into the role.

    Chief executive Mark Arthur then followed Hutton in resigning, while Yorkshire later announced that they were parting ways with their entire coaching and medical team, including first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

    Former England bowler Gough was appointed as interim managing director and tasked with appointing new coaching staff as a priority.

    Gibson, who will take charge from the end of February, was in charge of the West Indies side that won the T20 World Cup in 2012, having also served as South Africa head coach and bowling coach for England and Bangladesh.

    An experienced county cricket player who also appeared in two Tests and 15 ODIs for the West Indies, Gibson also worked with England during two Ashes series wins.

    He will join up with Yorkshire once his deal with the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League expires next month.

    Patel said he hoped the appointment of Gibson would "encourage dialogue and help foster a culture of inclusion at the club, as well as supporting and developing the world-class talent we have here and pushing them to the next level".

    "His playing and coaching credentials speak for themselves and he has had a distinguished career performing at the highest level," he said.

    "Ottis' character and his commitment to buying into the process that we are going through at Yorkshire County Cricket Club shone through in our discussions."

    Gough said: "Ottis is one of the best coaches in the world and will be a fantastic addition. His knowledge, commitment, experience and cricket know-how will be vital for us as we move into pre-season and get ourselves up and running.

    "We were absolutely blown away by the level of interest and quality of candidates for this role, but I have no doubt that he's the best person for the job and will pick up the challenge with relish."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.