Taking the knee in football
I’m sure most of you by now have heard of the numerous football teams who now, before starting their game, take the knee.
But when did it all start?
In the UK, it was brought to the public’s attention last year after the death of George Floyd (May 2020). After a police officer chose to do that very act to take the life of an unarmed man.
Since then, it has been used regularly at the start of football matches to show that football team’s solidarity against racism. It was also used during the many marches that took place last year due to that death.
Depending on who you are, it is seen as
- a mark of solidarity against racism.
- a mark of respect
- supporting the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement
- standing up against racism against black and brown people
- a waste of time
What are your thoughts?
Taking the knee, as it’s called, is not a new phenonium. It is something that has been happening in America for some time. Black sportsmen have been removed from their sponsorship, lost their jobs because of this very act. If it is a stand against something so horrific, it makes you wonder why some people are so threatened by this harmless action.
People don’t shout, and for the most part, they are silent, but it has been seen as an offence, an act of violence. Yet, the Leicestershire PCC (Rupert Matthews) just recently bans his staff from having any contact with BLM – The Guardian 8th July. This week, Guto Harri was removed from his position as a presenter on GB News for doing such a harmless act – Express 15th July.
So why is that this act seems to invoke such dramatic actions? Could it be because it brings challenges to those who are watching? Is it guilt because they have taken part in racist actions? Is it because they are comfortable with the status quo and do not want to see change? It is a real puzzle. Maybe you could enlighten me.
All I know is that when I did it for the first time, I could not believe the weight of the anguish I felt at a peaceful protest. The area was deadly silent. No one dared to make a sound. It was a powerful scene. There were people from different racial backgrounds, different age groups all kneeling in solidarity against the atrocious act that was perpetrated on:
and far too many more.
You can find their details here – Know Their Names.
In the UK, our leaders deemed the act a mark of disrespect, inappropriate and should not be done on the football field. They say that it’s not what the game is about. Yet the onslaught a few weeks ago of the vile racist acts, remarks, Twitter, Facebook etc., would say otherwise. Clearly, there’s a problem that has been swept under the carpet for many years that seems to have reared its ugly head. When did this change occur? Some say it happened around the Referendum. I, for one, have had more in my face racist remarks since then, a reminder of my younger days being called N… in the streets.
Yet, a recent report (The Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparity, March 2021) appointed by the people that govern this country claim that there is no problem. That BLM is divisive and that all lives matter. Yes, they do, but that is not the argument. Would there be such a racial outrage if other footballers had missed the penalties? Yes, people would have been disappointed, but would they have been attacked on based their race? I think not.
The FA are happy with players ‘taking the knee,’ so why should it be a problem?
Is it enough, though? Where are the black managers? Where are the black head coaches? And where oh where are the black board members?
I, for one, can’t see any real change materialise until these happen. I’m looking forward to that day.
What do you think?