‘Brave decision’ and ‘WTF’ is just some of the words fans have replied with as Brentford make a surprise but controversial statement.
For around a year now, players for clubs up and down the nation have been taking the knee in solidarity and in a fight against racism.
As time went on, protests grew and booing from outside and within the stands when fans were allowed back through the turnstiles was heard.
We have also seen clubs gradually choosing against taking the knee and the latest to do so is Brentford.
The following statement is issued by the Brentford FC squad: As a group of players, we have decided we will no longer take a knee before the start of matches. This will begin when we face Barnsley tomorrow, Sunday 14 February.
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. 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. We have experienced racist abuse first hand and have also seen some appalling comments made to other players past and present. There is a clear need to continue to push for an end to all discrimination and, as players, we will be part of that at Brentford FC, in football in general and in the wider community.
Togetherness is one of our key values as a group and plays an important role in helping us move towards reaching our goals. Racism is the opposite of what we stand for. As players we will show our commitment to Togetherness and racial equality on and off the pitch between now and the end of the season, and beyond. We will also support our colleagues at other clubs that still want to take a knee before games.
– STATEMENT ENDS –
Jon Varney, Brentford FC Chief Executive, added: “There have been detailed and lengthy discussions on this topic both in the playing group and across the Club. Taking a knee is just one way our players have been showing their commitment to racial equality. We supported their desire to do it and we now support their desire to focus on other ways to show this commitment. We have been very clear in our ambition to be the most inclusive club in the country and our players want to and will play a big part on this journey.”
Fans reacted as Brentford make a surprise controversial statement…
maybe your intentions are good but racist people will be happy about this decision
— w (@corbynfc) February 13, 2021
@DGBCampbell: I think this attitude needs to be league wide. It doesn’t have an impact anymore.
@will_1889: Right well I will be cancelling my ifollow subscription! That’s the only reason I watch the bloody games.
@jakeshoolheifer: It does seem to have become like the NHS clap. I always found the knee a very powerful statement but I’m not going to presume to know better than our players, especially our BAME players, how to protest against racism.
@josh_bfc: The sentiment behind it was always a good message but what’s become clear is that’s it’s just become a pointless token gesture and the club I’m sure have made a considered decision here. I fully back the club on this especially because it appears the players came to this decision
@vivaasocialismo: Stupid decision, wtf is this
@BraemarRdStand: Kneeling was the beginning, to show togetherness. Clearly more is needed and the kneeling is now at risk of becoming a commercial initiative that does nothing to combat racism, because nothing has actually been built ontop of the gesture
@KillickRussell: Many clubs will follow our lead. Racism unfortunately will always exist in all aspects of life consciously and subconsciously and clubs and football will continue to fight and highlight this but in different ways.
@Haydenm27814339: Good on u lot tbh its really not working that well if players are just getting racially abused
@donnywhitelufc: nothing racist in not taking a knee! How can kneeling down before a game make such a big fuss? Players can wear kick it out T-shirt etc! Social media need to get a grip with it all first then we will see a decline rapidly
@fid1875: Fair play to all at Brentford, this must of been a tough decision. People should respect the players decision and let them bring racial awareness in a way they see fit. Racism is abhorrent in all forms of life and I’m sure the club/players will positively work in their wider area
@Woolfie_01: A brave decision and one that a lot of other clubs will probably follow. It is having absolutely no impact on racism in football
@WHUspencer: fair play. there are many other ways to gain awareness to racism and prejudice that is better than taking the knee. Although the gesture should be allowed to continue for those who want too.
Reaction as Brentford make a surprise controversial statement continued…
@BenCra1g: Yes I’m sure you can ‘use your time’ in the 5 seconds before the whistle blows far more effectively in fighting racism
@puffpuff65: Good decision, They’ve made their point for 8 months now time to move on. Hopefully other clubs follow on and just get on with the game and just stay with “kick it out” and “show racism the red card” campaigns like before
@Antti_K_QPR: Fully expect Sky to use the entire next week to debate this decision like they did when we started doing this
@SCFC_HJ: Brentford aren’t my favourites. But this is all good intent, hard to disagree with it.
@SirFestusBurke: I’m OK with this. If the players feel that it’s become as pointless as clapping for the NHS, that’s fair enough. I hope that football and sport in general finds other ways to challenge the cancer of racism but I tend to feel that it has to be faced head-on.
@GBFC98: If the club no longer believe that this is having an impact and making any change then I fully support it. There’s clearly other ways that they believe they stop Racism.
@Seanrfc96: Full respect to #BrentfordFC. While racism in the game is undoubtedly a grave & pressing issue, taking the knee has lost its impact (especially given recent player abuse) & alternative, tangible change must now be pursued by clubs. Hopefully the first of many to take this stand.
@JakeQPR___: Exactly what we said but because it’s Brentford sky sports won’t say a word fans of other clubs won’t wish them to liquidate
@_BFCLuke: Ivan Toney has been on the receiving end of vile racist abuse online multiple times if the past few weeks, so whatever decision him and the rest of the squad have come to regarding the issue of taking the knee should be respected. End of.