Virtue Signalling Football Establishment Distances Itself from ‘Political Movement’ BLM

Watford's French midfielder Etienne Capoue (L) gestures in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Southampton at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on June 28, 2020. (Photo by ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
ADAM DAVY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

England’s Premier League Football has attempted to distance itself from the “political movement” of Black Lives Matter, after the sporting body had devoted games to the far-left organisation by taking the knee and wearing shirts that replaced players’ names with ‘Black Lives Matter’.

The Premier League, the top tier of English football league system, made the announcement on Tuesday, allegedly after the UK branch of the movement, BLMUK, posted from its official Twitter account messages about “abolishing” the police, anti-capitalist remarks, and ‘FREE PALESTINE’ posts employing the antisemitic dog whistle that Israel was ‘gagging’ the “right to critique Zionism and Israel’s settler-colonial pursuits” in British politics.

But the far-left, anarchic movement has been clear in its endeavours to tear down law and order since May 2020, with calls by U.S. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors to “defund” alleged racist police departments since 2016. It has been publicly known that since at least 2015 that Cullors was mentored by communist-supporting former domestic terrorist Eric Mann who worked with Bill Ayers, the former leader of the radical-left militant Weather Underground.

Last night, the Premier League said in a statement that while it backs “eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists” and that all in the profession “recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter”, the league added: “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.

“These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice. We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together.”

Former football players turned sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra were seen without their Black Lives Matter badges when covering the Manchester United versus Brighton match on Tuesday following the recent anti-Israel tweets. Another pundit, Matt Le Tissier, claimed he only wore the badge because he was asked to by the bosses at Sky Sports. Le Tissier added that he “could not support” BLM’s calls to tear down capitalism or defund police, condemning them as a “far-left ideology”.

On Monday, former professional footballer Karl Henry slammed BLMUK as “just a front for a self-serving far-left political organisation” which he called “divisive”.

The football establishment has experienced a rapid reverse ferret — a British media term for a quick reversal in position or policy — on its BLM position, after encouraging its players to show support for the far-leftist group. Players from all 20 Premier League clubs took the knee in the first games of the season after it was restarted following the coronavirus-induced hiatus.

All 20 clubs also replaced players’ names on the back of their shirts with “Black Lives Matter” for the first 12 games, with the media reporting that the BLM badge was to feature on shirts for the rest of the season.

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling called taking the knee a “massive step” in British football. “It shows we’re going in the right direction,” Sterling said in mid-June, claiming that the virtue-signalling in the stadiums was “organic”.

The team’s manager Pep Guardiola claimed that “White people should say sorry for the way we have treated black people for 400 years. I am ashamed of what we have done to black people around the world.”

This is the second major reversal in support of the far-left Black Lives Matter, after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who took a knee for BLM, backed off from endorsing the political “movement” following BLMUK’s antisemitic Twitter posts. The left-wing leader cited the movement’s support for defunding the police while distancing himself on British television.

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