Despite whining from some vocal English fans, the Premier League players released a statement confirming that they will continue to take a knee before every match in support of racial equality. While some fans have booed and there has been the spat of expected political discourse about it, the gesture appears to be mostly welcome in the football space.
After a Premier League captains’ meeting, they said this on the subject: “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. 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.”
It would be nice if this symbolic gesture by the players and the league would lead to some concrete action in the form of stricter consequences for players and fans who commit acts of racism towards the players both in the stands and on social media.
In the meantime, the heightened visibility given to the issue by the players’ silent protest is at least sparking a dialogue about some of the truly vile racism that gets spewed at players.
The most recent example of this was the hatred aimed at Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho after they missed penalties in the final of Euro 2020. If there was any thought about ending the practice of taking a knee, surely that disgusting event would have helped make the decision for them.
Regardless, players will continue to take a knee this season to support the cause.