Don’t Assume Booing Taking The Knee Is Racism by Dan Smith
I wanted to give my opinion to the controversial events that occurred at The Den on Saturday but first I wanted to see the reaction to what seemed a large portion of 2000 fans booing players taking a knee before kick-off.
I was curious to how the club would respond w,ith their very next fixture ironically against one of the two clubs, QPR, who at the start of the campaign explained why they would not be taking part in the Pre match ritual.
Spectators at Colchester also jeered the gesture, and there are claims and counter claims that Sky played in fake noise to hide the fact the same happened at the London Stadium. West Ham fans have uploaded video footage as proof but that equally could be edited.
Some in the media have simplified anyone who boos the ‘taking of the knee’ as being a racist.
To stress the booing aspect I disagree with. That’s disrespecting someone’s right to express themselves. Just like a non-religious person wouldn’t have the right to boo a player praying.
My issue is I disagree with what the gesture represents, yet I detest racism and am offended by the notion that you have to agree or else you are labelled a racist. Was Les Ferdinand a racist when he explained why the Hoops had decided to stop taking the knee?
By the Director of Football calling it ‘a PR Stunt’ and ‘it’s impact diluted’ it encouraged conversation, something that months of clubs ticking a box hasn’t achieved.
Debate is the best way to educate and reach conclusions. I would have loved Millwall fans to be interviewed to get their reasoning.
If it’s because they are against the idea of equality, they are sick – but it’s wrong to assume that’s why they were angry. To say anyone against ‘taking the knee’ is racist suppresses opinions and leaves a missed opportunity for discussion.
It will also intensify the stance of Ferdinand (and me) that clubs and players are doing this for their image.
There are thousands of footballers in this country. Law of averages not everyone will feel the same way. Yet any player thinking of speaking up will now be given a hard time if they shy away from the majority.
Just because the Premier League, Sky Sports, BT, Arsenal, etc interpret ‘taking the knee’ as meaning one thing doesn’t mean everyone will agree.
Right or wrong when I hear ‘Black Lives Matter’ I think of burning buildings, attacking police, violent protests, etc.’
A group of Millwall players saying what ‘taking a knee’ means to them doesn’t mean they speak for their fans.
Those organisations provide me with sport, they don’t speak for me and certainly don’t educate me. Like I have the freedom to not agree with everything an MP says, a football club and TV network shouldn’t be playing politics.
If I was at the Emirates this weekend, while I wouldn’t boo our players making that choice (I think you should be respectful) if you asked my honest point of view ……. I agree with Les Ferdinand.
‘Taking the Knee’ is something Sky, most clubs and the League insist on doing, because PR wise it looks good to copy what the world has been doing since George Floyd died. Most took the knee and said ‘Black Lives Matter‘ without knowing it’s a political Movement that’s existed for years.
Of course any decent human being is sickened by racism and discrimination of any kind, but I have never seen ‘taking the knee’ as having anything to do with the issue. I would much rather hear about tougher sanctions, points deductions, etc
Look how quick the FA were to release a statement condemning Millwall fans. Now compare the tone of their statement to the one where they failed to condemn FIFA for their pathetic punishment towards Bulgaria last year. You take the knee yet the governing body in charge of the game order the Bulgarian national team to play one game behind closed doors and pay 75,000 Euros.
That’s the same FA who’s chairman resigned for several inappropriate comments including, ‘coloured footballers.’ Just think about that.
The FA are so adamant that ‘taking the knee’ spreads a message, that Greg Clarke has a slip of the tongue in front of The Department for Digital Media and Sport Committee. You think that would be the one place where you make sure not to say the wrong thing?
If the FA boss is not taking the spread of awareness seriously, how can they expect the rest of us to believe they mean it?
Did ‘taking the knee’ protect Pepe from being racially abused online? It’s not even newsworthy, it’s been accepted. Not just football, but the likes of Twitter and Facebook, what policy and procedures are they implementing to change anything?
How do you not know that these are some of the Millwall and Colchester fans frustrations? Your never know if you just dismiss them. Or is that easier than answering some tough questions.
The Premier League themselves quietly distanced themselves from BLM in the summer because, let’s be honest, they had had zero idea what they were supporting. They thought it was a noble way to spread awareness, no different to a wrist band or shirt. When an MP put it to them were in favour of removing police funding, they were in a pickle.
It would be a PR disaster to ask clubs to suddenly stop ‘taking the knee’, so they have awkwardly picked snippets of the ethos they agree with, but please don’t listen to the rest.
Again just because football has decided ‘taking the knee’ has nothing to do with ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean everyone will agree. Especially considering as you only started this ritual after a death and protests made worldwide news.
When I see a player take a knee, I think it’s an organisation ticking a box and being hypocritical, because when racism happens, they do nothing. I also don’t think the BLM political movement should be advertised by one of the UKs biggest brands.
Do you think their organization is not benefiting from the most watched League on the world taking a knee which, no matter what the prem claim, many associate with the movement?
It’s like when Rios Ferdinand refused to wear a Kick it Out Shirt. He wasn’t refusing because he disagreed with message. He just got tired of his teammates told once a year to wear this while warming up, the FA ticking a box but doing nothing.
This is the same, players told to ‘take a knee’ but ask them what is actually changing behind the scenes? Nothing!
It’s sad that in 2020, players are forced to ‘take a knee’ so football can tick a PR box, even knowing they will do nothing once a player is racially abused. If a player, fan, pundit says how they feel, they get called a racist.
So players are puppets on strings ‘taking a knee’ while the rest of us are reading off cue cards, so we say the right thing.
I passionately want to fight racism. I can’t help the fact though that when I see ‘taking a knee’, I think of a lot of actions I disagree with. Don’t blame me, blame those who have ruined the message by setting shops on fire, attacking police, etc. Yet if you don’t agree with taking a knee, you’re a racist?
Who are the FA to say that about people?
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