Paul Pogba has launched his own anti-racism movement. The Manchester United midfielder came off the bench on Thursday when United beat Newcastle 4-1 to play his first game at Old Trafford since September.
During the warm-up for the game, Pogba and his teammates wore black and white wristbands which read “No to racism” and “We are one”. He gave his wristband to a young fan in the crowd.
Pogba with a powerful statement
Later that night, the French international went on and posted an image on Instagram, along with a quote from Martin Luther King: “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
“It was my idea to do that,” Pogba said of the wristbands.
“I mean, I’ve been thinking about doing this but I don’t want to go through the UEFA or the FIFA. I (have) done it myself. I think we have the chance to have this power to show things in football, on TV.”
“People see it so I think that will make people understand some things. I think it’s ignorance. Ignorance and stuff like that, and just to show people that you are all one. We are all one.”
“I mean, by hearing things every week. We keep seeing it again and again in a lot of stadiums. It’s just to show that, to give support to all the players – I mean, black or white or Chinese or whatever who you are. But there is only one race.”
“And just to show respect to everyone. Like I said, we are all one. We all came here to enjoy football, to enjoy ourselves and to do what we love.”
When asked who he was supporting, Pogba mentioned a number of players including Moise Kean, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Antonio Rudiger, as well as United teammates Fred and Jesse Lingard.
The 26-year old World Cup winner revealed he was inspired by the ‘Stand Up, Speak Up’ anti-racism campaign initiated by Thierry Henry back in 2005.
“Basically I was thinking about doing this for a long time,” said the midfielder.
“I remember when I was younger about ‘Stand Up, Speak Up’, something like this. It just reminded me of that. I mean, a lot of players in a lot of leagues – not only in Premier League, in Italy, Spain, everywhere – and we keep hearing this (racism).”
“I don’t want to do president, I don’t want to do a politic guy. We are just football players, we want to enjoy that. The fans need to enjoy coming and seeing some nice football and that’s it.”
“So, this is to show that we’re against that [racism]. I don’t want to go and make interviews but just I know that it will make people talk.”
“The team-mates, we done it. Fred, Andreas (Pereira), I mean everyone, we are against that. We are just for football, enjoying football. We do what we love. We give joy to the fans, to everyone, to all the spectators and that’s all we want to see in the stadium.”