After the death of 46year old George Floyd in May, the movement against racism and police brutality in the United States have surged. At some point in time, the issue was dying down, and individuals seem to be forgetting. Still, recently, Jacob Blake, another black American, was shot seven times by a police officer, and concerns have been raised yet again.
PL and EFL will back players who decide to fight against racial injustice and police brutality.
People like the Uk secretary of state for Foreign affairs, Dominic Raab, had expressed his disgust against knee taking, saying it is just like a gesture he has seen from HBO’s ‘game of thrones.’ U.S President Donald Trump also said he found it disrespectful that players take a knee when the national anthem is being played. Despite these backlashes, the Premier League and English Football League have decided to give full support to their players.
They want players to protest in the ways they want. Recently, Les Ferdinand, director of football at Sky Bet Championship side Queens Park Rangers, also felt that the struggle against racism had died down. Still, professional football pundit and former Manchester City and Aston Villa player, Micah Lincoln Richards, strongly disagrees and has since argued that protesting is always the right thing to do. He wants Les Ferdinand to understand that the fight is not a one-day thing. It needs time.
“(Les Ferdinand) has had a firm opinion. I respect his opinion, but at the same time, the Premier League is one of the biggest leagues in the world,” he said. “To some people, who do not understand, even if you’ve got the players beforehand going down on the knee, people are going to start to ask questions. Yes, we all want more actions, we want equality, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Football pundit Micah Richards supports the fight against racism but also believes that it requires patience
It is in Richards’s view that racism has been with us for a long time and would not go away with a twinkle of an eye. It is true, and people have lost their lives due to racial injustice. How will it be stopped? Through peaceful protests and demonstrations, accompanied by a change of mind and attitude. After the death of Floyd, people protested enthusiastically, then they stopped. Was that the right thing to do? Should they have continued to protest? Or, as Richards said, it is not going to happen overnight?
“When he says he wants more action, I’m total with him, but this is something that’s been happening for hundreds of years, and it’s not going to change overnight. It’s getting better. There have been so many people who have come out, not just black people, white people as well, and talked about issues that maybe a couple of years ago, and they’d feel uncomfortable talking about.”
“Even if kneeling helps one person or changes just one person’s mind, I still think it’s the right thing to do.”- Micah Richards
Following the restart of the 2019/20 premier league season, players decided to wear ‘black lives matter’ at the back of their shirts instead of their names for the first round of fixtures. They later put a ‘black lives matter’ logo on their shirts for the rest of the season. It has since been replaced with ‘No Room for Racism’ sleeve badge for the new season.
Premier League boss Roy Hodgson has said that both messages are important and applauds the initiatives the league and the players are taking to fight against racism. English Football League Chief Executive Officer David Baldwin also revealed that players in the Champion’s League, League One and Two would wear a ‘Not Today or Any Day’ message on their shirts for the 2020/21 season.
Some players have been subjected to online backlash following their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. They were Crystal Palace duo Patrick Van Aanholt, Wilfried Zaha, Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright, Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick, and Borussia Dortmund signing Jude Bellingham.
The world has had a lot to deal with in recent times, climate change, natural disasters like the pandemic, etc. At now, being racists or discriminating against each other should be the last thing for us to be thinking about. We should focus on how to curb the spread of the virus and bring fans back into the stadium to bring sports back into our lives.