As the Black Lives Matters protests — sparked by the horrific murder of George Floyd, but kindled by centuries of oppression and subjugation — enter their third weekend, having spread to over 60 countries across the globe, support for the movement has seemingly, finally become the norm.
As such, announcements of support have proliferated, and tonight, players from all 20 Premier League teams released an official statement in support of the movement.
“We, the Players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for All, regardless of their colour or creed. This symbol is a sign of unity from all Players, all Staff, all Clubs, all Match Officials and the Premier League #blacklivesmatter #playerstogether.”
The Premier League accompanied the message with one of their own.
“The Premier League stands alongside players, clubs, the FA, EFL, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and all those who oppose discrimination in any form.
“The League supports the players’ wish to have their names replaced by Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts for the first 12 matches of the restarted 2019/20 season. A Black Lives Matter logo will also feature on shirts for the remainder of the season, along with a badge thanking the NHS for their work during the COVID-19 crisis.
“In addition, the League will support players who ‘take a knee’ before or during matches.
The Premier League believes there is no room for racism, anywhere #NoRoomForRacism.”
Now, whether these statements — only the latest in a long line of official communiques from brands and organisations worldwide — is followed up with genuine, hands-on action to dismantle the inequalities that exist at the coaching, boardroom, refereeing, grassroots, and societal level remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that this will be a monumental task that is going to require long-term commitment from people who have shown little willingness to proffer real change in the past.