French Ligue 1 side Racing Club de Lens used their jerseys to make a statement against racism and discrimination over the weekend.
Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — which is marked annually on March 21 — Lens players wore jerseys with a teammate’s surname on the back during their home match against SCO Angers on Saturday, March 18.
It was part of a club campaign called “Nos Noms Disent Non” (“Our Names Say No”) — “A firm and categorical no to the fact of being able to discriminate against an individual by the mere sound of [their] surname and open the way, or rather the impasse, to broader discrimination,” RC Lens says on its website (translated to English by Google).
Lens players wore their regular, registered squad numbers with the swapped surnames on the backs of their kits so they could be identified by television broadcasters and fans in the stadium. They also wore a “Nos Noms Disent Non” logo on the front of their kits.
More than the regulations of the French football championship which indicate that the name of a player must be associated with his tunic, Racing intends to shake up the spirits of those who followed the meeting and invite each and everyone to unite to put prejudice and all forms of discrimination out of the game.
— RCLens.fr (translated to English by Google)
The United Nations has designated every March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It marks the anniversary of a protest against apartheid laws in Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960 where police opened fire on protestors and killed 69 people.