Manchester United midfield ace Paul Pogba has given new recruit Jadon Sancho wristbands that are branded “No To Racism” and “We Are One” in his campaign against racism.
The two wristbands have been worn by United players in the last 18 months after Pogba, who started the new Premier League campaign in devastating fashion on Saturday by claiming four assists in the Reds’ 5-1 victory over Leeds United, arranged the move ‘to make people talk’ about the issues concerning racism.
Individuals within the United squad have had to face horrendous racist abuse in the not too distant past, including Sancho, who, alongside fellow United ace Marcus Rashford and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, was targeted online last month.
Sancho, Rashford and Saka were all racially abused online after the three of them missed their respective penalties in England’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy in the final of the European Championship. Both Sancho and Saka were denied by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma whilst Rashford struck the post with his effort.
Sancho, of course, has a history of promoting anti-racism messages. In June last year, following the restart of football after the initial wave of the pandemic, Sancho displayed the message ‘Justice for George Floyd’ after scoring for former club Borussia Dortmund.
Floyd had been killed by an American policeman and that moment sparked protests right across the globe.
But it is not just Sancho who is driven by promoting anti-racism messages, as Pogba is as well. Since the latter stages of 2019, the France international has been handing out wristbands to his teammates to promote anti-racism messages and conversations.
On the idea behind giving out the wristbands, Pogba, who is out-of-contract at Old Trafford next summer, previously said: “It was my idea to do that. I mean, I’ve been thinking about doing this but I don’t want to go through the UEFA or the FIFA. I’ve 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.
“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.
“I was thinking about doing this for a long time. I remember when I was younger about “Stand Up, Speak Up”, something like this. It just reminds me of that.
“A lot of players in a lot of leagues – not only in Premier League, in Italy, Spain, everywhere… keep hearing this.
“I don’t want to be the president, I don’t want to be a political 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 know that it will make people talk.
“The teammates, we did 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.”