Everton Defender Backs Impact of Black Lives Matter Protests Across Football

German DFB Pokal"FC Schalke 04 v Bayern Munchen"
Jonjoe Kenny has seen significant game time at Schalke this season | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Everton and Schalke defender Jonjoe Kenny has praised football's quick and emphatic response to the fresh wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the United States this summer.

The Bundesliga – where Kenny plays for Schalke, on loan from the Toffees – was one of few leagues back in full operation when the protests began in earnest after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The subsequent round of fixtures saw players making individual gestures, including Jadon Sancho's 'Justice for George Floyd' undershirt and Weston McKennie's armband bearing the same message.

McKennie is one of Kenny's teammates at Schalke, and the right-back told 90min this week: "The big thing, and the lucky thing for us, is that we play on a platform that everyone watches. What clubs are doing in the Premier League and around the world, and what they did here, was massive."

The opening round of the Premier League saw all player names on shirts replaced with the phrase 'Black lives matter', and teams collectively took a knee before kickoff in their matches. While names are back on shirts, players' sleeves have been adorned with a 'Black lives matter' motif in later rounds.

"Things have got to change," Kenny continued, "and with Weston being from America and really feeling the pain and the situation, all the lads were there to support him and help him out. It's a thing that everyone's got to get behind. What's going on the world is crazy, and with the platform we have with everyone watching, it's the right thing to do to make a big statement about it."

The Everton youth product will watch his loan side's last game of the season from the sidelines on Saturday, suspended after picking up a fifth booking.

Looking ahead to that match, he explained: "I can't play because I've got five yellows, but you want to end on a high. We started the season really well – the standards did drop, as you can see in the results, but what people don't see if that we had six, seven players who were injured."

Rabbi Matondo, Weston McKennie
US international Weston McKennie has been vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement | Pool/Getty Images

The Gelsenkirchen side did start the season impressively, winning away at RB Leipzig and at home against Borussia Monchengladbach, but haven't won in the league since mid-January.

"Take six, seven players out of any team and it's going to affect anyone, no matter how big the team is. We had a bit of bad luck with that situation, but it's all part of football, how to deal with the good and the bad, and it's exactly what I needed this season."

Read more from Jonjoe Kenny, especially his update on his Everton future, here.

For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209