Manchester, June 18 : Manchester City's Raheem Sterling has hailed the 'Black Lives Matter' campaign as a "massive step" with players taking a knee in support of the movement on the opening night of the Premier League's return.
Unarmed African-American George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25. His death has triggered protests against racism and police brutality across the globe.
Before Aston Villa's match against Sheffield United on Wednesday evening, all players and support staff took a knee in protest against the death as the Premier League resumed after the COVID-19 hiatus. Manchester City and Arsenal players also did the same before their fixture.
"It shows we're going in the right direction," Sterling told Sky Sports.
"Little by little we're seeing change. It was natural, it was organic. We saw the teams do it in the earlier kick-off and thought it was something we had to do as well." Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola added: "White people should say sorry for the way we have treated black people for 400 years. I am ashamed of what we have done to black people around the world.
"It is not only in the USA where it has happened. The problem is everywhere.
"Maybe for our generation it is too late but for the following generations, they can understand the only race is ourselves. We are human beings. It doesn't matter the colour of our skin," he added.