EFL clubs reportedly discuss making big changes to taking the knee before matches amid concerns about the gesture and it’s connotations.
Teams have held talks with the league in the last week about scrapping taking the knee before matches to distance themselves political ‘ties’ of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Being discussed were possible alternatives to the pre-match ritual to continue to show their support for the fight against racism such as anti-discrimination banners.
Millwall fans boo as players take the knee.
Loud booing could be heard when players from both teams took the knee in support of #BlackLivesMatter movement before kick off, with at least one supporter heard shouting “get up!”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 5, 2020
Millwall and Colchester fans claim that they booed players taking the knee last weekend because of connection with ‘political group Black Lives Matter’.
The EFL are also keen to introduce an action that is adopted by all clubs across the leagues amid a growing divide between teams which still or have stopped taking the knee.
In the Premier League, we’re seeing clubs and players maintain their stance in doing the gesture every matchday, however, more than half of EFL matches have seen no clubs do so.
The new gesture could be similar to the one we saw at Millwall when they came together with QPR on Tuesday night and both teams stood together in front of an anti-racism banner.
Millwall and Middlesbrough did the same on Saturday afternoon while Luton and Preston’s players linked arms on the centre circle after a change of decision.
That’s Millwall Football Club. pic.twitter.com/I3Id2OJpmo
— Jake Sanders (@JakeSanders92) December 8, 2020
An EFL spokesman told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The EFL welcomes the positive, proactive approach taken by Millwall and QPR players as both set of squads continue to raise awareness of inequality and discrimination facing society. We will continue to support the wishes of our clubs’ players either on an individual or collective basis.
‘EFL players who have chosen to ‘take the knee’ before games or participate in similar types of initiatives are using their platform in front of millions across the world to make a statement about eradicating all types of prejudiced behaviour, encouraging attitudinal changes and creating unity.
‘Players often receive widespread criticism and negativity for merely doing their jobs but here they are leading the way, trying to effect positive change and they should be applauded for taking a stand, showing solidarity and setting an example for others to follow. Football needs to support its players and we will.’
Boro & Millwall players together as one pic.twitter.com/WP47sRYsCb
— Chris Kamara (@chris_kammy) December 12, 2020
Premier League clubs have had Black Lives Matter logos emblazoned onto their shirts but insisted it was not an endorsement of the Marxist political organisation of the same name.
They replaced the logos for this season with ones that state No Room For Racism though Black Lives Matter is still shown on-screen during television broadcasts of matches on Sky Sports.
The EFL don’t have an affiliation with the Black Lives Matter movement but with clubs still taking the knee, they now are now concerned that there is mixed messages with fans.
Middlesbrough decided to stop taking the knee this season with manager Neil Warnock having his say about the changes.
‘I think that [standing behind an anti-racism banner rather than taking the knee] made the point more than the knee,’ said Boro boss Neil Warnock. ‘We are all of the same opinion about what we are trying to achieve. It’s just that our lads don’t think the knee is relevant, they don’t agree with the political side of that, so Britt [Assombalonga, Boro captain] said.’
Millwall’s Mahlon Romeo was applauded off the pitch as he raised the Kick It Out sponsored shirt at The Den following their 1-1 draw with QPR. pic.twitter.com/BF3eC8fbUJ
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 8, 2020
After the booing by fans at Millwall’s 1-0 defeat against Derby, Lions defender Mahlon Romeo accused the club’s supporters of “spreading hatred.”
Romeo told the South London Press: “Today’s game, to me now, has become irrelevant. The fans have been let back in – which the whole team was looking forward to. But in society there is a problem – and that problem is racism.
“The fans who have been let in today have personally disrespected not just me but the football club. And what the football club and the community stand for. What they’ve done is booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which was put in place to highlight, combat and stop any discriminatory behaviour and racism. That’s it – that’s all that gesture is.
“And the fans have chosen to boo that, which for the life of me I can’t understand. It has offended me and everyone who works for this club – the players and the staff.
“I’m speaking on behalf of myself here – not any of the other players – I want to make that very clear. This is the first time I feel disrespected. Because you have booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which – and it needs repeating – was put in place to highlight, combat and tackle any discriminatory behaviour and racism in general.”
“I’m almost lost for words,” he added. “I don’t know how they thought that would make me feel. I don’t know what they thought taking a knee stood for. But I think I’ve explained it simply enough. I feel really low – probably the lowest I’ve felt in my time at this club.
“It’s something I can’t wrap my head around. People will have their beliefs and views, which everyone is entitled to. I’m not trying to stop or contain – but if your beliefs and views oppose a positive change in society then don’t come to a football ground and spread them around.
“If it’s negative, don’t think you can come to a football ground and this is the place where you can spread hatred essentially.
“When fans are booing a peaceful gesture to highlight racism, it naturally makes you ask yourself ‘why am I putting myself through this?’. I’m sure not all Millwall fans share the same opinion – it’s a small collection. But if we’re being realistic it made me feel very small and it made me feel personally disrespected.”
There was reaction as EFL clubs discuss making big changes to taking the knee before matches…
@tarbard_1986: Finally some sense being sought
@ParkLan73862488: As if they didn’t realise what they were kneeling for.
@TommyDoc_RWA: I WARNED OF THIS 5 MONTHS AGO
@Mishules1: ‘There are concerns the gesture has become conflated with the political organisation Black Lives Matter. Millwall and Colchester fans claimed this was why they booed as players took the knee last weekend.’ No, they booed because they’re racist – there’s no reason other than this.
@LancsIron: Whole clubs shouldn’t be doing it any more due to BLM being a registered political party in UK. Like players who make religious signs prior to kick off I believe players who wish to show solidarity etc could do this in a similar form. It will be a personal thing but still visual
@Reddevilfox: Cant believe it’s taken them that long for the penny to drop.The kick it out campaign should have been used.
Jason Lee: Good to see EFL clubs discuss making big changes to taking the knee before matches. Could only see future matches suffering more booing as more fans are let back into stadiums
👍👏👏👏 common sense prevails!
Fans returning to stadiums will inevitably force the dilution of the agenda that has been given a free ride within MSM.💪
— Derek Jeffrey 🇬🇧 🏴 (@DrumJeff74) December 12, 2020
So they should – point made end of!
— Steve Robinson (@SRobbo7) December 12, 2020
Good to hear more scenes like Millwall v QPR would be much better suited https://t.co/hw3WeNtS13
— Karl Pritchard (@KarlPritch86) December 12, 2020
Looks like the grovelling dogs are finally waking up and realising kneeling round on the floor for BLM is unpopular with supporters. Rather than ‘take a knee’ why not take an elbow? Or take an arse cheek? Or even just scrap the virtue signalling altogether and play football? 🧎♂️👍 pic.twitter.com/EtdM6vcq57
— UnitedfanManc (@UnitedfanManc) December 13, 2020