Premier League football stars claim taking knee ‘more important than ever’ as clubs commit to continuing gesture into new season
Despite boos being heard at some matches in England during the gesture, top-flight clubs have confirmed and endorsed the apparently collective decision in a statement less than two weeks before the start of the campaign.
A constant feature of elite games last season, the move, which is seen as divisive rather than effective by its critics, saw the England national team booed at a friendly before Euro 2020, with UK prime minister Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel refusing to condemn hecklers.
"We feel now, more than ever, it is important for us to continue to take the knee as a symbol of our unity against all forms of racism," the players announced in the release.
Premier League players have confirmed they will continue to take the knee next season. 🤦🏼♂️Taking the knee is divisive & has caused more division in this country. Would be far better to stand against racism and bring the country together. I don’t support it. https://t.co/vwkTPmbD0j— Kevin Edger (@KEdge23) August 3, 2021
Premier League players confirmed that next season they will continue to take the knee. It’s their choice but I think the meaningless gesture has ran its course & only continued to spite those not fond of it.Stamping out racism from football is achievable without taking a knee.— Chris Rose (@ArchRose90) August 3, 2021
"We remain resolutely committed to our singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect and equal opportunities for all.
The Premier League also confirmed that players and match officials will continue to wear a 'No Room For Racism' sleeve badge on their shirts, which they said acts as a "constant reminder" of their determination to "eradicate racism."
"The Premier League, our clubs, players and match officials have a long-standing commitment to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination," offered chief executive Richard Masters.
Good. Can’t wait to boo it at the top of my voice. It would have a cop out if they’d have stopped it before the fans were allowed to return.— Spurs (@montyfonti345) August 3, 2021
"Following our club captains’ meeting, that collective commitment was reaffirmed and the Premier League will continue to support the players’ strong voice on this important issue.
"Racism in any form is unacceptable and 'No Room For Racism' makes our zero-tolerance stance clear. The Premier League will continue to work with our clubs, players and football partners to bring about tangible change to remove inequality from our game."
Sparked by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the symbolism of kneeling entered English football when the season resumed after being halted by the pandemic, with the Black Lives Matter gesture becoming more widespread following the killing of George Floyd in the US in May 2020.
I thought they'd already solved racism? They've done this for a whole season and there's still racists around? Impossible.— Convincing John (@JohnQJesus) August 3, 2021
Taking a stand against racism by kneeling is like trying to put out a fire with petrol.— Ken (@c3pzero) August 3, 2021
Following England's penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 and the racial abuse suffered by a trio of Three Lions stars who missed decisive spot kicks, defender Tyrone Mings became embroiled in a Twitter spat with Patel and called her out for hypocrisy when she attempted to offer support to the victims.
With crowds set to be allowed back into grounds when the campaign kicks off the weekend after next, there could be more mixed reactions to come if the response on social media is any indicator.
"It’s their choice but I think the meaningless gesture has run its course and only continued to spite those not fond of it," said one critic.
Quite right too.— Mike (@spurs_upnorth) August 3, 2021
And I stand with them. Racism isn’t welcome in our sport. Neither are other forms of discrimination. We all need to do better and call out the bad behaviour to make this a safe space no matter who you are— Emma 💙 | CFC ⭐️⭐️ (@Emma_Crxssing) August 3, 2021
"Stamping out racism from football is achievable without taking a knee."
"Taking the knee is divisive and has caused more division in this country," added a political commentator.
"It would be far better to stand against racism and bring the country together. I don’t support it."Also on rt.com American ‘Activist Athlete’ who shunned flag and blasted anthem over slaves’ ‘blood being slain’ fails to medal at Tokyo Olympics