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US players Steffen, Adams express solidarity with Floyd

BERLIN (AP) — United States internationals Zack Steffen and Tyler Adams have joined several other Bundesliga soccer players in expressing their solidarity in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Steffen issued a statement on Tuesday titled “Enough is enough” in which he said he was speaking in honor of “Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and every other African American who has been killed by police brutality.”

The 25-year-old goalkeeper spoke of his pride in wearing the U.S. national team shirt but questioned why its leaders “won’t protect its citizens who look like me?”

Steffen, who plays for Fortuna Düsseldorf, was unable to play this past weekend because of an injury but posted a statement on Twitter.

“If I’m going to wear the U.S. flag, I need to know that it stands for something worth defending,” he wrote. “I need to know that it stands for something worth defending. I need to know that my country supports black lives. That our leaders see us. That they hear us. I am proud to defend my nation. All I ask is that my nation also defends me.”

Earlier, Steffen called U.S. President Donald Trump “a disgusting hypocrite ” while quoting a Tweet that Trump sent on Jan. 12 asking Iran’s leaders not to kill protesters.

Trump faced criticism after police under federal command and National Guard soldiers aggressively forced back peaceful demonstrators near the White House with tear gas so he could walk to a nearby church and pose with a Bible.

Adams, who plays for Leipzig, posted a picture of the boots he wore in Monday’s game at Cologne, showing he had “Black Lives Matter” written on his left shoe and “Justice 4 George” on the right.

“As an African American who day in and day out is proud to represent America in the worlds game, I’m saddened and frustrated," Adams wrote. "Collectively our voices will bring justice for these crimes. Enough is enough. Black lives Matter. Black lives inspire. Justice for Floyd. Forever one nation, one team. On and off the field.”

Adams followed by posting an image only in black on Tuesday with the hashtag “blackouttuesday.”

Adams came on in the 59th minute of Leipzig’s 4-2 win, a game in which Cologne’s Anthony Modeste made a gesture against racism after scoring. The French striker stood briefly with his right palm facing out and his left palm facing in to display the darker skin on the back of his hand.

There were previous gestures on Saturday from Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, and on Sunday from Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram and Borussia Dortmund teammates Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi.

German soccer federation president Fritz Keller praised the four young players for taking a stand and displaying their solidarity with Floyd, a black man who died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee for several minutes on his neck even after he stopped moving.

While the federation said it would be forced to consider whether the protests on the field broke rules against making political statements, FIFA President President Gianni Infantino issued his own statement Tuesday saying the Bundesliga players “deserve an applause and not a punishment.”

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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