English Football Club ‘Will No Longer Take a Knee’ Before Matches

Black Lives
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English football club Brentford FC have decided to give up kneeling to Black Lives Matter before games, as players “no longer believe that this is having an impact”.

“As a group of players, we have decided we will no longer take a knee before the start of matches,” the team announced in a statement shared on their website.

“This decision has come after lengthy discussions as a group. We have been taking a knee before games since June but, like many of our fellow players at other clubs, no longer believe that this is having an impact,” the statement explained, somewhat equivocally.

“As a group we are fully behind and proud of Brentford’s desire to become the most inclusive club in the country and the drive towards equality under the #BeeTogether banner,” they added.

The ‘no kneeling’ policy first went into effect in a game against Barnsley FC at the weekend. Barnsley players continued to kneel.

“Taking a knee” was first popularised by American football player Colin Kaepernick, who would do it during the national anthem, but the practice was imported to British football and virtually institutionalised at the official level after Black Lives Matter swept across the Atlantic and into British cities in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.

The controversial gesture may be coming to the end of its lifespan, however, with Brentford’s decision to give it up coming not long after Millwall players found themselves pitted against their fans in December, receiving a chorus of boos as they got down on their knees.

The Six Nations rugby tournament between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy has also been tinged with controversy as a result of the gesture, with Scotland players, who mostly did not kneel to BLM before a match against England — who mostly did — having a historic victory over their larger neighbour marred by a woke backlash.

This did not have the desired effect, however, as none of Scotland’s players knelt at their subsequent game against Wales — who also did not kneel.

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