Maybe Football shouldn’t have got involved in politics in the first place?

Something strange happened today, and it’s left me feeling the need for a shower. I for the first time agreed with Katy Hopkins.

It’s a sad reflection on society that a well-educated businesswomen has found a way to make a living on social media by intentionally being in the minority just to cause debate.

Yet on this occurrence I don’t mind referencing her, as she makes valid points regarding the Premier League now trying to backtrack by claiming they are not ‘endorsing a political movement’ while supporting the BLM.

I can’t believe I’m about to advertise her work, yet alone on an Arsenal blog, but in many ways that is part of the problem football has created.

I should be able to write about football without mentioning politics but by getting involved in the Black Live Matters protests, the sport can’t now pick and choose.
I always promised any relevant topics I would give my views on, as I believe it’s healthy to have opinions. This helps educate others, and if you ask me how I think we solve issues facing the world this is how will do it … discussions. So please be respectful of everyone’s point of view.

First of all, I believe the majority of people have their heart in the right place when they take a knee, have a message on their shirt, or show a logo representing the campaign, ‘Black Lives Matter’. What human being wouldn’t hear that and agree? You have to be quite sick to think the opposite.

So, if players want to show their support before kick-off it doesn’t hurt me. If it spreads awareness, then great. Yet if I’m honest I only heard of the organisation after the death of George Floyd (it was actually founded 6 years ago). I would assume that was the catalyst after years of police in America being accused of racism.

This was the moment when the world said enough and recognised that in 2020 people should be treated equally. Athletes, musicians, movie stars, etc, used their platforms to tell their stories.

When clubs asked their squads to wear shirts, Sky decided to share logos on screen and the Premier League did the same, it came from a good place. Of course, Black Live Matters and of course we should strive for equality. What was the harm in getting behind that message? Let’s also be honest, it’s a smart PR move, reflecting society and how they feel.

They didn’t expect the group to be sending tweets about Israel, condoning the damage to statues or campaigning to defund the police.

The Premier League released an official statement (as have Crystal Palace) claiming the parts of the movements ethos which it did agree with and those which they didn’t, but while the average person in the street can claim ignorance ….one of the UK biggest brands can’t – which again is why sport shouldn’t get involved in politics.

The Premier League said: ‘Together, all professional football bodies and the players and managers recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter.

‘However, we do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.

‘We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views.’

I stress I believe their notion that they are displaying a ‘show of unity from people of all communities who believe it’s unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else’, yet you still giving a political movement more advertising than they ever had, which tells the world that you must be supporting their ideology.

Those in power will never admit this, but I bet they wished they researched more as now they have to stick to their principles, as it would be a PR nightmare for them to order the logos to be removed now. Really, they should have done their research. Whoever is in charge of branding should always make sure they understand 100 percent who and what they are showcasing.

Sky pundits can quietly stop wearing the badges (After Matt Le Tissier spoke out) and even the BBC can do the same, but it’s harder for football because it’s been so visual about its support. It’s kind of hard to say ‘Black Lives Matter – but we don’t agree with the same name hijacking the death of Mr Floyd and now using it for other agenda.’ Which is why they should have followed their own rules..
Like I have written before, Arsenal felt ‘Black Lives Matter’ was worth supporting – but not Ozil pointing out the treatment of Muslims in China.

England were originally fined for wearing poppies.

Pep Guardiola gets fined every time he wears a yellow ribbon in support of Catalonia voting for independence in Spain.

By saying these subjects are ‘too political’ – but BLM is acceptable – you give the unintentional message that one cause matters to you, but you don’t care about others. In a sense the lines have been blurred.

The League stance is we agree with the message, but not the actions of those in charge of that message.
The problem with that is some are now hearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ but are thinking now about politics, not equality. A good message is being destroyed by the people who claim to care the most.

Expect over preseason for the pre-match ritual to disappear as clubs try to distance themselves from a political movement. Which is a shame, as distancing ourselves from the topic was the opposite intention.
Maybe Football can have it’s own slogan. They can say something equally profound which would avoid individual companies having to outline which part of the ethos they agree to.

How would you react gooners if you were in the crowd? Do you feel the good intentions have been exploited? That football is inadvertently now giving a political movement a massive stage? Have the Premier League handled this correctly?

No right or wrong. Let’s have a healthy discussion peeps…

Be kind in the comments.

Dan Smith

36 Comments

  1. Gurj says:

    Completely agree with this. BLM as an organisation are political and the Premier League should not be supporting them. The premier League shoudl be pushing Aniti-Racism rather than supporting an organisation who have some fairly radical political views.

  2. joe allysons says:

    A common mistake is being made concerning this movement, and the author of the article makes it too. Black Lives Matter does not hijack the death of Mr Floyd to push an agenda. Black Lives Matter , is the agenda. The league and the sport in general show thier support for LGBTq and many other things. BLM is a movement of humanity. Is there hijacking happening? Yes . Absolutely. The BLM message is being hijacked by people willing to push their own agendas. It’s been like that from the beginning . We’ve had violent rioters join in with the peaceful ones, we’ve had political groups try to push their own message.

    Taking a knee , is not in support of a political group , it’s in support of a message. Laca , Auba, and the like add a fist above their head to add that more commitment to the message .

    If you consider BLM a political movement , you’ve started on the wrong footing . You have to consider it an Ideology , at which point you’ll see the truth of it.

    It’s only hypocritical not know that for ages , black people have been marginalized and looked down on. The simple reference “minority race” should show you that.

    I’m a black man. I support a few things about the related messages , I don’t support others. For example, The anit-religious messages that are coming alongside BLM are wrongly hijacking it.

    I think the EPL should stand its ground. What good is the sport we all love if it does nothing to make the world a better place.

    To finish , I come from a country where the police is over funded and over militarized , and therefore , I can understand when the people of america cry for the police to be defunded. In Africa, we look up to the states as a role model. Looking however at how they’ve handled the riots, it’s as brutal as happens back here. I would support that cause. I commend the FA for standing with such a cause. Thanks if you read.

    1. Lisa says:

      Well, here’s my opinion on this.
      After the death of Mr. George Floyd, the Bundesliga team Eintraicht Frankfurt wore “Black Lives Matter” on their jerseys. When the Premier League returned, the players voted to do the same, replacing their names with “Black Lives Matter”. But previously, when Jadon Sancho lifted his jersey displaying a shirt that said, “Justice For George Floyd” he still got a yellow card for excessive celebration. There’s a guy in the NFL that got banned for taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter. And somehow now when Man. City plays Burnley at the Etihad, a Burnley plane flying a “White Lives Matter Burnley” flag was spotted, and now, less than two weeks after, in the midst of the BLM movement, it’s already “cold news”.
      Summary? Football SHOULD be involved in political movements. But when a player or group of players wish to protest ANY injustice, it should be allowed to stand.
      Football brings us together. Do you think the Arsenal players, Arteta, and everyone associated with Arsenal would have crossed paths if not for football? No. One or two of them, maybe, but the whole squad? Nuh-uh.
      Let’s finish off here by taking a Liverpool quote, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. All you people out there, fighting for justice, know a lot of people are behind you. YNWA.
      Please…whoever reads this, share it with everyone you know who cares.

      YNWA,
      Lisa

      1. AlexLaca9 says:

        YNWA??! Omw… 🤦🏽‍♂️ Liverpool fans crawling all over the place nowadays tryna rub our faces in it. Around here it’s “Victory through harmony” which is a more fitting message for all those tryna highjack the BLM to further their own agendas.

        Oh to be a gunner! ❤️

        1. Sue says:

          YNWA…. arghhhh I can’t stand it!!!!
          Should be YNTA – Talk!! Because now they’re the champions, they’re never gonna shut up!!!

          1. GunneRay says:

            Hahahahahahahahaha….

            Ah, Sue. I knew you would squirm at that one!

            🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

          2. Sue says:

            😅 nobody at work wanted to talk football today, GunneRay… so singing ‘Blue Moon’ all day long fell on deaf ears hahaha!!

      2. SueP says:

        I agree with your passion Lisa, but football is not there to protest at just any injustice. It is not a lobbying group.

        I couldn’t agree more on your points about Jadon Sancho, or the fact that there are no black chairmen or too few coaches and managers in football. The PL & FA ought to take a closer themselves. Perhaps the politicians could take a closer look at themselves too and work harder on matters of race and inequality

        I am all in favour of Dan’s suggestion that the football community should take its own initiative going forward. It recognises all sorts of messages from different communities and it could be so influential in combating racism as it is trying to be with the Say No to Racism campaign.

        Reading Joe’s excellent post I was struck by the word that BLM is an ideology but as long as others are using it for their own ends then the football authorities are in a tricky position supporting it as it stands. My understanding of BLM is that it is a loose grouping that speaks out on police brutality in the USA against its own African Americans citizens.

      3. dan says:

        wait is this Lisa who told me and I quote ‘ To Shut my mouth’ for suggesting City would comfortably beat Liverpool ?
        Did think of you last night

    2. dan says:

      but can they pick and choose mate ?
      Guardiola cant wear a yellow ribbon , Ozil wasn’t supported by Arsenal for claims about Muslims
      Football done nothing to stand up against the attacks in Reading
      People get mistreated and go through poverty all over the world
      How do you deicde what is okay to have mixed with sport and what isn’t ok?

  3. Shortboygooner says:

    The problem when it comes to racism is that it is not a stand alone thing. The prejudice that is racism is strongly linked and affected by class and social status as well as politics. The three interlink and anyone who does not see or understand this simply need to educate them selves further on the history or Britain, social status and the institutions that run the country.

    Racisim is political because the powers that be that created and enforce racism are political. When we look back at major stand points in British history we see strong examples of this. Windrush where the BRITISH GOVERNMENT. invited immigrants from its colonies to help to rebuild the country after World War 2. Great britains support and participation in the South African apatite (only abolished in 1970s or 1980s) and many many more areas of the British history. Most of it stems from the quite frankly racist government.

    With this in mind I believe BLM has a strong place in polotics. Furthermore, in regards to football we would all agree that football is a nationwide tradition and holds a place dearly to all of us. Thus, I would put it to anyone on this blog to refute the fact that racism is clear and rife within out beloved football. We only have to look back to 2019 where many of our black English players were abused by Bulgarian fans.

    Once more let’s look at incidents with John Terry and anton ferdinand or Luis suarez and patrice evra. Whilst we may look at these as isolated incidents ( which they are not). We cannot take away from the fact that these things still happen and are accepted. Hence my support and the Premier leagues support in making BLM more clear.

    Lastly politics affects all walks of life. Each and every footballer is a roll model and influencer in their own right. So any out of the normal day to day chasing the ball is political because of the amount of people they reach and influence. We only have to look to borris retracting his retractment of free school meals once Marcus rashford got involved. Is he a politician in name. No, has he influence politics in a big way. Well you can decide that one.

    So finally I would like to disagree with Katie Hopkins who is a bigot, a racist, and opportunist who uses here white privalidge and shock tactics to gain attention.

    1. Lisa says:

      Marcus Rashford,👍👍💜💜💜💜

  4. Adajim says:

    It’s a pity, a good intention is turning into mess

  5. Grandad says:

    Racism is the scourge of mankind but sport should not be infiltrated and used by Groups with hidden agendas.I may be accused of being a naive 73 year old, but I have always lived my life in the belief that “all lives matter”.

  6. ThirdManJW says:

    Completely agree! Football should be about escapism. Somewhere we can all forget about our woes for 5 minutes! We have political agendas shoved down our throats daily, and now we have it in football! We’ve seen these agendas ruin cinema, and education, and now possibly football?

    Football has now backed itself into a corner, allow politics seep in. I wonder if football will do something for all the cops that are being killed by black people? Blacks are killing more than Whites, Hispanics, and Asians put together in America. Will players take a knee to remember all those lives lost, and suffering those family’s are going through? Or is it racist to talk about such issues unless it’s about black people?

  7. Kenny Rolfe says:

    The FA are breaking their own rules by pushing this Marxist BLM movement run by George Soros, who incidentally is paying protesters to riot in the name of a serial criminal. I have have good decent black friends and a Thai partner so don’t anyone start giving me racist bullsh*t. This is a political movement and BLM should never have been allowed on football shirts in the first place. As for getting down on your knees, I wouldn’t kneel for anyone but the Queen and these footballers are a disgraceful bunch of sheep. It’s quite obvious Ozil has refused to kneel and for that he gets my respect. This whole movement has back fired and has set race relations back 50 years, I’ve now cancelled Sky, cancelled BT, cancelled my BBC direct debit and when Arsenal get in touch for the renewall will cancel my season ticket.

    1. SueP says:

      I’m shocked you believe that conspiracy theory about Soros
      I don’t know how he finds the time to do all the things he is accused of as there are loads of conspiracy theories about him
      It’s like BillGates and smallpox. Ridiculous

    2. Kstix says:

      Having a bunch of black friends doesn’t not mean you’re not or can’t be racist. And from what you’ve said afterwards, you do seem more likely to be one than not to be one.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        What is it, everyone who’s not subservient or refuses to get down on their knees is a racist, 86% of the country is now bored with people like you

        1. SueP says:

          I hope when you wake up tomorrow that you cringe with embarrassment

  8. SueP says:

    With the benefit of hindsight I should not have posted on the topic
    It is too difficult to process.
    Political articles have appeared before and it just gets too intense and our link on JA is Our beloved Arsenal.. and that’s it from me

  9. Durand says:

    I support them on their free speech and stance against racism, but it ends there for me. The other ideologies that have piggybacked on their protests are drowning out the original message.
    Look at places like Seattle that have given way to them. Crime has increased rapidly over last few weeks, businesses leaving, things are worse.
    I hope the BLM movement separates itaelf from the anarchists that are hijacking a proper message against racism.

    1. SueP says:

      I couldn’t agree more

  10. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Yeah, next you’re going to tell me George Floyd was a law abiding citizen. Or is that a conspiracy theory

    1. SueP says:

      Regardless of George Floyd’s criminal record he didn’t deserve to die at the hands of a policeman on the street, particularly in the manner it was carried out. He wasn’t in the act of doing anything criminal at the time of arrest – just suspected of using a counterfeit bill.

      1. Kenny Rolfe says:

        So where do you think BLM started, half a dozen guys out of Harlem, It’s a world wide Marxist organisation that’s been active for the past 6 years and out to destroy Capitalism. Maybe you’ve just heard the name George Soros for the first time in which case I’ll excuse your ignorance and naivety

        1. SueP says:

          I’ve replied to you below

      2. Kstix says:

        Spot on SueP. You couldn’t have given a better reply to Kenny whose comments are nothing but shocking and the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree Kenny. If you cancel your subscription, someone else will take your place

        1. SueP says:

          Kstix
          I don’t know if we agree on football matters but I’m glad we agree on this.

          1. Kstix says:

            Same here SueP

  11. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Well said Durand

    1. Durand says:

      Thanks Kenny, I’m baffled why PL would get involved in political statements in the first place. I just tune it to watch football, not get lectured by a sports organization about politics.
      Players are punished but PL ignores it’s rules when it’s convenient. Hope they continue their campaign against racism, but drop any stance involving politics.
      Anyone that thinks BLM hasn’t become a political movement has not been doing proper research.

  12. Reggie says:

    Its a big NO, football should not get involved in politics, it should not pick and choose topics to promote. Football should keep out of all politics and just stick to playing football thats it. Who choose the politics? It’s not an option, stick to sport.

  13. SueP says:

    Oh believe me I have heard of George Soros and that is why I replied to you the way I did. I actually wondered if you had

    Check him out on Wikipedia

    Frankly your comments appal me I’m not a bloody imbecile

  14. ken1945 says:

    While “fans” at football matches bring the ugly face of racism to the terraces, how can it be ignored?
    Should Aubameyang had just shrugged his shoulders when that idiot threw a banana at him and the fa let it go for fear of being seen as pursuing a political matter?

    Outside of the footballing arena, BLM must be heard wherever oppression, such as witnessed in the USA, exists by whatever means possible, sometimes the end justifies the means.

    This is the 21st century, yet here we are, once again, discussing the oppression of one group by another and who should get involved… everyone should get involved, along with every institution.

    Saying the movement has been hijacked for political purposes may be true, but politics is part of why the BLM was formed in the first place – the politics of presumed superiority by one human over another.
    Surely the game of football shows that any kind of superiority is dependant, not on anything other than skill and that should be in life as well.

    Does anyone believe that awarding the upcoming world Cup was not a
    “political” decision?

    Once football has become squeaky clean itself, then it can start to preach to others how to behave – it has been proven to be corrupt to its very core, both politically and racially.

    If premier league players want to show what they feel about such inequalities being openly displayed, by being part of a massive movement for equality, then good on them – they have every right to do so.

    1. Dan says:

      Ken I said before we can’t pick and choose
      We all talk / write about the deaths and almost slavery of those building stadiums in Qatar
      How many will forget that when World Cup is on.
      Only when a footballer or team refuse to take part – that’s the biggest protest one could make
      Won’t happen though because of money

Comments are closed