‘Taking the knee’ has been a prevalent part of British football for the last 2 years now.
Most teams throughout European football did this to begin with, while a lot of foreign teams stopped this last season, which lead to a strange site during European and International ties, as quite often one team would be taking the knee and the other team wouldn’t.
I’m not going to get into the debate on whether taking the knee was the right thing to do or not to begin with, everyone has their own person views on the matter.
But we are two years on now. At the start of a brand new season. R*ngers and Livingston both took the knee before kick off this afternoon, which seemed to gather a negative reaction on Twitter from some users, with the general consensus being “are we really going to do this for another season?”
I’m unsure if the other Scottish teams did the same in their matches today, but I would assume they would have done if the referees are still being instructed to order it.
Swansea have recently released a statement saying that they will no longer be doing it, citing the disappointing reaction to their player Rhys Williams being racially abused at a match in 2021 and it being swept under the carpet.
They have said their players agree that the gesture of taking the knee is no longer the impactful statement that it once was, that it is becoming a token gesture and isn’t changing anything.
Huddersfield and Burnley both refused to take the knee in their match last night as well, which again seems to have been met with positivity on Twitter.
It is quite clear that football clubs are against racism. But is the SPFL and our clubs scared that they are going to be criticised if they are going to stop doing it? Are they scared of being labelled as racist or bigoted or not caring about black lives?
I was surprised that the gesture was done throughout the whole of last season. I fully expected it to be something that was done for the remainder of the previous season, and now it looks like at least in Scotland, it could carry on for another full season.
So when does it stop? Never? If clubs and the SPFL or SFA are worried about potential backlash, that worry is likely always going to be there, unless perhaps the EPL decides not to do it this season, then I think that would give them the confidence to stop it.
And if and when Celtic do stop taking the knee, should we release a statement outlining our reasons like Swansea have done? Or should we simply just not do it, like Burnley and Huddersfield appear to have done, along with most European clubs?
The worry for me is, are British clubs really determined to tackle racism, or is just a case of pretending they are by taking the knee? That seems to have been what Swansea were worried about, that yes, they were taking the knee, but it wasn’t actually having a positive effect on tackling racism.
I am in two minds about the situation myself. I agree with the statement from Swansea and the points raised, the gesture seems to be a token one now, almost going through the motions.
But I also feel like it’s a decision that our players should take as a collective and then let the club know their decision. We have black players in the team, we have Asian players, Kyogo for example has publicly suffered from racism since coming into this country. If we have players that feel strongly that they would like to keep doing it, then for me it is important that the rest our of players show solidarity with them.
Let me know you thoughts in the comments. The link to Swansea’s statement and BBC article on this is below.