Marcus Rashford says society ‘more divided than ever’ after George Floyd death in passionate Black Lives Matter statement

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Marcus Rashford expressed his sadness at seeing a society that is 'more divided than ever before': EPA

Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford has admitted that society “appears to be more divided than ever” following the death of American George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd, an unarmed African-American black man arrested Powderhorn last week, died after an officer knelt on his neck repeatedly while in custody. His death has triggered numerous protests, both peaceful and violent, across the United States with clashes between authorities and protesters spiralling out of control, while support against racial injustice has been witnessed across the globe.

Several footballers have thrown their support behind the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, with 22-year-old Rashford following the lead of England teammate Jadon Sancho by issuing a passionate statement expressing his thoughts on the current situation surrounding racial inequality.

"I know you guys haven't heard from me in a few days,” Rashford said on Instagram. “I've been trying to process what is going on in the world.

"At a time I've been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear to (be) more divided than ever. People are hurting and people need answers.

"Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter."

Rashford also included three separate hashtags, the first reading Justice for George Floyd before repeating the same message for Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, who were of African-American descent and both fatally shot in separate incidents in the US earlier this year.

Rashford’s comments on Monday followed a defiant statement from Sancho during Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 victory over Paderborn at the weekend, where the former Manchester City winger lifted off his shirt to reveal a message of ‘Justice for George Floyd’ written on his undershirt. Sancho was booked for the move, but he explained afterwards that the hat-trick he scored in the Bundesliga match had been overshadowed by events in America and the treatment of BAME people worldwide.

“Solid performance from the team!” Sancho said. “Delighted to get my first career hat-trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change.

“We shouldn’t fear speaking out for what’s right, we have to come together as one and fight for justice. We are stronger together! #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.”

The two are far from the only sporting athletes to express their support for those protesting against racial inequality in the US. Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton issued a strong statement on Sunday condemning his peers for their failure to speak out.

Hamilton is the only black driver currently on the grid in Formula One, with just one other black man getting the chance to test in the form of American driver Willy T Ribbs in 1986 with the Bernie Ecclestone-owned Brabham team. There have been a handful of other drivers of BAME origin in the sport’s history, including current Red Bull driver Alex Albon who is of Thai descent, but on the whole F1 is a white-male dominated sport.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Lando Norris all gave their opinion after Hamilton’s outburst, with Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi all doing the same.

Hamilton said” "I'm one of the only people of colour and yet I stand alone".

Leclerc responded by writing on Twitter: “To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation and this is why I haven't expressed myself earlier than today. And I was completely wrong.”

Leclerc added: “I still struggle to find the words to describe the atrocity of some videos I've seen on (the) Internet. Racism needs to be met with actions, not silence. Please be actively participating, engaging and encouraging others to spread awareness.

“It is our responsibility to speak out against injustice. Don't be silent. I stand #BlackLivesMatters.”

Williams driver George Russell added on the same social media platform: "Now more than ever, we need peace and equality in this world.

"It's time we all stand together and kick racism out of our societies for good. Use your voice, spread awareness as far as you can. We're all responsible for ending the injustice."

Former England captain David Beckham posted on Instagram: "My heart goes out to George's family and I stand in solidarity with the black community and millions of others across the world who are outraged by these events. Its heartbreaking to see that in 2020 this is still happening."

NBA side the Washington Wizards released a joint statement on Twitter, criticising the US Government.

It read: "We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of colour in this country.

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement.

"We will no longer accept ineffective Government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of colour.

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

Additional reporting by PA