Wilfried Zaha is the first footballer in the Premier League to say he won’t take a knee because he doesn’t think the protests are enough anymore.
Instead, the Crystal Palace forward promised to “stand tall” when he returns following injury. He told the FT Business of Football conference, “I feel like taking a knee is degrading.” Growing up, my parents just let me know that, no matter what, I should just be proud to be black, and I just think we’re supposed to stand tall.
The purpose behind the whole thing, I guess, is becoming something we are only doing now. Not enough of that. I’m not going to take the knee.
The Premier League distanced itself from Black Lives Matter by replacing its logo with No Space for Racism on shirts at the start of this season. “I will not wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my shirt because it feels like it’s a target,” Zaha said.
Zaha, who announced that his mother had made him pay 10% of his money to charity when he was 16, also indicated that the prejudice that black players continue to suffer online suggested that the demonstrations did not make a difference.
“We try to say that we’re equal, but these things don’t work,” he said.
Don’t ask me about it unless there’s a shift. I don’t want to know about it until intervention happens.
After determining football’s anti-discrimination gesture “no longer” has an impact, Brentford’s players avoided taking their knees on the weekend. The football director of QPR, Les Ferdinand, said in September that the effect of the gesture was diluted, comparing it to “a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge.”
In December, a survey by the Professional Footballers’ Association found that there was still overwhelming support for taking a knee before kick-off among players. The England boss, Gareth Southgate, insisted on Wednesday that the gesture was still incredibly effective to keep the fight against racial discrimination and oppression at the forefront of the minds of people.