It’s been a while since I’ve written a column for the Fancast, apologies for that, but I was without my iPhone and that made writing very difficult.
Then with Frank Lampard leaving I must admit I’d lost the love a little bit. I didn’t know what to write, what I was feeling, I just wanted a break from it.
But life moves on and the times right to bring back some Monday Musings for anyone who happens to be reading (hello mum).
The topic of this weeks musing is something connected with ‘life moving on’ and that’s the taking of the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before all football matches.
Black lives still matter, black lives will always matter, but what exactly is taking the knee achieving now? Action is what’s required now, not gestures.
The movement spread following the murder of George Floyd in America, who was under arrest for allegedly using a fake bank note in a store to buy goods.
Whilst being detained the officer placed his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck, in the harrowing video you can hear the screams of “I can’t breathe”.
Now some people don’t agree with taking the knee because they believe it’s in support of George Floyd, who has a long record of altercations with the police.
But this was never about George Floyd personally, it was for every black man and women, for whom being pulled over by the police could result in death.
That’s something nobody should have be fearful of.
There’s also some who disagree with the group who represent the Black Lives Matter movement, who’s political views include defunding the police.
Again, this isn’t about just them, it’s about everyone, every man, woman or child living in a world where it shouldn’t matter what colour your skin is, what religion you believe in, or your sexuality.
We are all human, and I live by a belief that it’s about the kind of person you are that decides my judgement on you.
Taking the knee was important then, and I guess it is important now, but it seems nothing more than a token when black players are still being subjected to racist abuse after games that their teams don’t win.
Action, not gestures.
Crystal Palace’s Wilfred Zaha is the latest high profile footballer to speak out against the taking of the knee.
“The whole kneeling down – why must I kneel down for you to show that we matter?” Said Zaha talking to On The Judy Podcast.
“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”
And thats what the taking the knee before games feels like now. Like a tick box exercise for the Premier League to absolve responsibility when abuse continues.
And Zaha is not alone in his thinking, Championship side Brentford have also announced that their players will no longer be taking the knee before games.
A statement on behalf of the players said “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.
“We believe we can use our time and energies to promote racial equality in other ways.
“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.”
It’s not that people are ‘sick of’ taking the knee, but you can understand people who aren’t personally affected by racial inequality thinking ‘are they still doing that?’ Even if you don’t agree with them for saying it.
Actions, not gestures.
We, as a society, need to push for change, starting I believe with the huge social media companies where racist abuse is most prevalent.
You should need to provide one proof of identification when you sign up. That way they can trace who you are when you post racist abuse online.
No longer can you hide behind a faceless account and type abuse at people. Actions should have consequences.
And football clubs should be pressuring these companies into this as well. Chelsea have their own app, they could take down their accounts until change happens.
Actions, not gestures.
Taking the knee served a purpose, but as we’ve seen recently it’s not enough.
All it is now is a gesture, and in fact it’s only a reflection of society in general.
We’ll blow a whistle, kneel down, then 30 seconds later we’ll play on anyway, because it’s not our responsibility really is it?
What’s needed now are actions, not gestures.