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.