We DO want to keep taking the knee! Football players ‘overwhelmingly’ back sticking with the ‘act of solidarity’ despite fans’ booing after being quizzed by the PFA… who slam the EFL and clubs for a ‘lack of leadership’
- A PFA survey shown huge support from players to continue taking a knee
- The survey followed a series of incidents where fans booed the gesture
- Players ‘support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses
A survey carried out by the Professional Footballers’ Association has shown overwhelmingly support from players to continue taking a knee.
The questionnaire followed a series of incidents where fans booed the anti-racism gesture and aimed to find out how clubs, players and staff best wanted to spread the message of equality in the sport.
The results of the survey illustrated that players ‘support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses that may be received’.
The gesture in support of Black Lives Matter was booed by Millwall fans before their home Championship game against Derby on December 5, and in their next match against QPR, players stood arm-in-arm instead.
During the match, QPR players Ilias Chair and Bright Osayi-Samuel took the knee to celebrate a goal against Millwall.
A PFA survey has shown overwhelmingly support from players to continue taking a knee
Players ‘support continuing this act of solidarity despite any adverse responses
THE SURVEY QUESTIONS
Do you want to take the knee as a squad?
Do you want to take the knee individually?
If the knee is shown resistance by fans do you think it should be reconsidered?
Would you welcome an alternative to taking a knee?
If so, please give details?
On Tuesday Cambridge United manager Mark Bonner hit out at the ‘disgusting’ behaviour of fans who booed as the players took the knee before their League Two win over Colchester at the Abbey Stadium.
Cambridge players Harvey Knibbs and Kyle Knoyle both posted on Twitter that they were ‘appalled and embarrassed by the section of fans who booed’ the players taking a knee, saying: ‘It’s 2020 and the action is a symbol of solidarity.’
There have been similar incidents at Colchester United and Exeter City’s home grounds since the return of fans to stadiums over the last few weeks.
A PFA statement said: ‘Throughout 2020, PFA members have demonstrated a strong understanding of the societal issues raised across the world and have used their platform to highlight the impact racism has on both individuals and wider communities.
‘The decision to take the knee before matches was initially made by Premier League captains during Project Restart, to show solidarity with Black people facing discrimination globally.
‘This powerful symbol of solidarity represents the players’ commitment to anti-racism and is not an endorsement of any political position. It is a peaceful act of unity that highlights a persistent and systemic issue.’
The PFA did take a swipe at the EFL for a ‘lack of leadership’ over the issue and explained that they had made it difficult for players across the three leagues.
‘While the Premier League has already committed to teams taking the knee for the duration of the season, players across the EFL have been left in a difficult position following a lack of leadership on the issue,’ the PFA statement continued.
‘The survey conducted by the PFA has shown overwhelming support for continuing to take a knee, and we hope this gives the EFL and the clubs involved the information needed to support the players.’
PFA slated EFL for ‘lack of leadership’ as the Premier League committed to gesture for a season
The gesture of taking the knee before matches became widespread when football returned following the spring coronavirus lockdown, during which Black Lives Matter protests spread around the world, sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US.
While many see the act of taking the knee as a symbol of anti-racism, some football fans have questioned its links to BLM, which in the UK has become associated with the toppling of statues and far-left political beliefs.
In the wake of the backlash against the Millwall booing, Environment Secretary George Eustice called BLM a ‘political movement,’ that doesn’t reflect ‘what most of us believe’.
Cambridge manager Bonner insisted that taking the knee was simply about tackling ‘systemic racism and inequality’ after the incident at his club on Tuesday night.
He said: ‘I’m disgusted to be honest, it shines a light on our club for all the wrong reasons.
‘What was a really good game for us on the pitch was overshadowed by a really small minority that decided to boo in a moment when we’re reflecting the values that everyone at our club believes in. It is just behaviour which is unacceptable and at our club we don’t want that at all.
‘What was most encouraging is the vast majority drowned them out quite quickly with applause and reflected the values of our club much better.
‘We work incredibly hard in the community and there’s massive work that goes on to highlight all these issues and we’ve clearly got some work to do because some people have embarrassed our club and embarrassed themselves to be honest.’
He added: ‘What pleases me most is the small minority that booed were soon drowned out by loud applause by the majority that understand that this is about systemic racism and inequality. We’re right to back that message.’