Stand Up, Speak Up was Nike’s campaign to empower football fans to show their opposition to racism. The symbol of the campaign was the black & white interlocking wristband, as worn first in public by Thierry Henry at the World Player of the Year gala in Zurich in December 2004. The wristband was created as a symbol of solidarity with the players and fans who share a determination to take positive action against racism in football.
The campaign had support from Nike’s sponsored players, including Thierry Henry, Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldhino, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Claude Makalele, Philip Mexes, Carlos Puyol, Roberto Carlos, Christoph Metzelder, Otto Addo, Adriano and Fabio Cannavaro. Nike launched high profile TV advertising to support the campaign. Additionally, some national teams who wear Nike kit, wore specially designed shirts during the campaign.
The bands were available during the begining of 2005 for a donation of at least 2 Euros through Nike's European outlets and other sports retailers. All 5 million bands quickly sold out, causing much consumer panic and raising 6 million Euros for the campaign. All money raised went to support European anti-racism projects and initiatives, administered by the King Baudouin Foundation. FARE assisted Nike in distributing the funds in the countries not initially selected for funding, such as eastern Europe. 238 projects received funding as a result over the 2005-2008 period, all of them working against racism in football, but in many different ways.
Football Unites was one of the beneficiaries of the funding, receiving a grant for its 'Communities Together' project which helped fund FURD's annual Community Day, several 'Communities Together' tournaments each year In Sheffield, and enabled us to help advise and support local players wanting to establish teams to compete in affiliated 11-a-side leagues.
To mark the end of the project, a conference was held in June 2009 at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium for representatives of the funded projects from across Europe. This enabled an inspiring exchange of ideas and experiences to take place and delegates went away determined to continue their efforts to use the unifying potential of sport to overcome racism and discrimination.
A 50-page report, 'Stand Up, Speak Up: The Story 2005-2009 has been produced which provides more details about the campaign. It includes a Project Directory which lists every project which received funding, including contact details and a brief summary of its work. The report can be downloaded from this webpage or from the King Baudouin Foundation website. Printed copies may also be borrowed on request from the Football Unites library.
“The wristband is about racism. Racism is one of the biggest problems facing football across Europe. People may think the problem has disappeared, but it hasn't. The players on the pitch need the help of all fans to help drown out the racists and tell them their actions aren't acceptable.”