Zaha to stop taking a knee before Premier League games


Crystal palace forward Wilfried Zaha has vowed to stop taking the knee before matches because he believes the gesture has lost its meaning.

The Ivory Coast star also urged fellow black footballers to do the same, adding that the gesture may even make blacks a 'target' for racial abuse.

Players, officials and staff at Premier League and English Football League matches have been making the gesture before kick-off since the 2019/20 season resumed in June to show support for racial equality.

Premier League club shirts also carried a Black Lives Matter slogan during the latter stages of last season before being changed for this campaign to feature a patch promoting the league’s own anti-discrimination campaign “No Room For Racism”.

But a number of players including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been targeted with racist abuse on social media in recent weeks.

Several teams, including Championship side Brentford, have stopped taking a knee before games.

Zaha, 28, believes taking the knee to show support for racial equality is becoming an empty gesture.

Zaha speaking at Thursday’s Financial Times’ Business of Football summit, said: "I’ve said before that I feel like taking the knee is degrading and stuff because growing up my parents just let me know that I should be proud to be black no matter what and I feel like we should just stand tall. 

"Trying to get the meaning behind it, it’s becoming something that we just do now and that’s not enough for me. 

"I’m not going to take the knee, I’m not going to wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my shirt because it feels like it’s a target. We’re trying to say that we’re equal but we’re isolating ourselves with these things that aren’t even working anyway, so that’s my stand on it. 
 
"I feel like we should stand tall. Now I don’t really tend to speak on racism and stuff like that because I’m not here just to tick boxes. Unless action is going to happen, don’t speak to me about it.’

Zaha, has also been targeted with abuse on several occasions on social media in the past.

Speaking on the on the Judy podcast, Zaha said: "The whole kneeling down - why must I kneel down for you to show that we matter?

"Why must I even wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my top to show you that we matter? This is all degrading stuff.

"When people constantly want to get me to do Black Lives Matter talks and racial talks and I'm like, I'm not doing it just so you can put "Zaha spoke for us". Like a tick box, basically.

"I'm not doing any more, unless things change.

"All these platforms - you see what's happening, you see people making fake accounts to abuse black people constantly, but you don't change it."

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