Ahead of their game against Japan at the World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday, players from Team Germany assembled on the pitch and covered their mouths in an act of protest.
The players were upset that soccer governing body FIFA had earlier stopped captains from several European teams from wearing armbands in support of the LGBTQ community.
“We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard,” the team said in a statement posted to their official Twitter account.
“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us,” the team said. “Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”