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England Taking the Knee: Government Response.

Fist Salute of BLM.

england-taking-the-knee-government-response

England Taking The Knee.

Downing Street has urged all England fans, to get behind the team, at the Euros. Also, to be respectful when English players take the knee, as a gesture of equality against racism.

However, Mr. Johnson has not condemned fans who boo, when English players take the knee. Booing occurred on Sunday when England faced Romania, on Sunday, in a friendly. As usual, before the match began, both English and Romanian players took the knee. While some fans appreciated the gesture, others obviously did not and booed. The question has to be asked, do fans have the right to boo? The answer must be, yes. Whatever the motivations for fans booing, surely, in a plural society, those fans have as much right to boo, as players do to make the gesture.

Asked directly, whether Mr.Johnson supports the aims of BLM, the Downing Street spokesman replied: "The Prime Minister, had already made his views known, on such things". The important thing is that people, who support England, should get behind the team the spokesman reiterated.

Brendan-Clarke Smith posted his view, on Facebook. The Conservative MP posted that: "Whilst the intention (taking the knee, sometimes with salute) may be admirable and we all want to put a stop to racism in football and wider society, it now comes across as little more than tokenism and has lost its effect". Mr. Clarke-Smith, also, alleges that those players who do not wish to perform the gesture, have been removed from the team.

A black player who has played for England, is also, of the view that taking the knee (with or without the accompanying, clenched fist, salute) seems to be on the same track, as the aforementioned MP. Wilfred Zaha does not bother doing the gesture, anymore, as he believes it is an empty gesture and achieves nothing. Other Conservative MPs, have also taken to social media or publicly denounced, the gesture. MP Tom Hunt has said the gesture, makes things worse, instead of better. Mr. Hunt has described the gesture as "divisive". Lee Anderson, MP, has threatened to boycott his, "beloved England" because of the stance of English players, making the gesture.

If true, that players for whatever reason, refuse to make the gesture, they should not be thrown out of the team. If this does, indeed happen, (and it is, an if), this smacks of dictatorial and authoritarian doctrines, akin to North Korea. It would seem football, as in all areas of society sadly, the right to not follow the majority view or hold a counter-view is becoming a criminal pursuit.

It will be interesting to see whether England and other teams, will be allowed, to make the gesture. The gesture, though well-meant, is of a political nature. Political gestures, banners, shirts, etc, are explicitly banned under the rules of the Euro tournament. The Ukrainian team is making a political gesture, (at least as far as the Russians are concerned) in showing a map of their country on their tops, incorporating the Crimea. Crimea, part of Ukraine, was taken over by the Russians, a few years ago now. The Crimea has always been fought over, but the Russians have always regarded it as theirs. The people at the top, administering the tournament, have passed the Ukrainian jersey as not breaking the rules. So, if the Ukrainian team, can get away with their controversial jersey, taking the knee will presumably be allowed. So what is the point, of these rules saying no political gestures, banners, shirts, etc, if taking the knee and Ukrainians wearing their controversial shirt are allowed?

Footballers and fans alike will have political views, like the rest of us, or perhaps none at all. Many fans and footballers will view football games, as a chance to display their political stance. As Mo Salah, (Liverpool and Egypt), has done in the past, in his standing with Palestine. Religious gestures by Christians, Muslims, and believers in other traditions, are also expressed in games.

Should politics and indeed religion be kept out of football and sport, in general? There are arguments for such a thing and arguments against it. At the end of the day, regardless of political or religious stances, the majority of sports fans just want to see a good game - end of.




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