I WILL go to Millwall with Watford on December 29 and, earlier than kick-off, I’ll take the knee.
The identical as I’ll at every other floor.
Watford captain Troy Deeney says footballers taking the knee is only a stance towards racial discrimination and injustice, nothing to do with MarxismCredit score: Information Group Newspapers Ltd
Millwall gamers wore anti-racism tops after some followers booed taking the kneeCredit score: Millwall FC
That’s as a result of I’m not ready to permit folks to make use of lies and innuendos to blur the message of anti-racism.
It is a new one on me, having to make the identical argument repeatedly, to people who find themselves both silly or just don’t need to pay attention.
So let’s get this clear — I don’t know any footballers who’re Marxists and I don’t consider any footballers are being duped by Marxists into taking the knee.
Taking the knee is a press release towards racial discrimination and injustice.
It’s not concerning the political motion Black Lives Matter, regardless of the politics some members of that motion might or might not have.
This Tuesday evening was a big one for the anti-racism motion.
Occasions at Paris Saint-Germain and Millwall felt like a watershed.
When PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir players walked off the pitch after Istanbul coach Pierre Webo was the victim of racially charged language from the fourth official, it was an incredible present of solidarity.
For a very long time now, it has appeared as if this second would arrive — and all of us in all probability assumed a walk-off can be provoked by racial abuse from supporters, similar to when England gamers suffered concerted and pre-meditated abuse in Bulgaria final yr.
Istanbul Basaksehir coach Pierre Webo was on the receiving finish of racially-charged language from fourth official Sebastian Coltescu towards PSG
Each Istanbul and PSG , together with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, responded to the incident by parading a transparent message earlier than the rearranged tieCredit score: AFP or licensors
On that event, the Bulgarian FA have been fined simply £65,000 and ordered to play one match behind closed doorways.
That laughable punishment isn’t any deterrent however sadly typical of Uefa’s gentle strategy to racism.
But when Neymar — in all probability the third-most well-known footballer on the planet — leads off his PSG workforce after abuse suffered by a coach on the opposition aspect, absolutely the message has to get via and Uefa should hand out a correct punishment.
The official in query, Sebastian Coltescu, is apparently going to retire from elite refereeing however Uefa ought to nonetheless impose a most ten-match ban and a considerable high-quality — and use that as a yardstick.
The incident was in all probability not the worst of its form however it was the straw that broke the camel’s again.
You’ll have seen Istanbul’s Demba Ba main the protests.
For him, I’m certain it was a case of years of racial discrimination having constructed as much as that second.
The temper amongst gamers now’s one in all zero tolerance of racism. No extra. Sufficient is sufficient.
Earlier than Millwall played QPR that same night, there had been loads of speak concerning the response to some Millwall followers having booed the taking of the knee at their match towards Derby final Saturday.
I feel the booing at Millwall and Colchester might be a blessing in disguise… I additionally don’t consider the vast majority of Millwall followers suppose that means.
QPR, in all probability essentially the most racially numerous membership in English soccer, had determined earlier than the beginning of this season that they might now not take the knee, with their director of soccer Les Ferdinand explaining that he believed the motion was shedding its that means.
I respect that view however what occurred at Millwall and Colchester final Saturday refocused quite a lot of minds.
Millwall wished to keep away from extra booing in order that they agreed with QPR for each units of gamers to hyperlink arms and maintain anti-racism banners earlier than kick-off.
QPR gamers performed the sport in that respect however after they opened the scoring, two of their gamers took the knee in entrance of the Millwall followers and confirmed how they really felt.
That was heartening and it was additionally actually encouraging to listen to Watford followers applauding us take the knee earlier than our win over Rotherham on Tuesday, as has occurred elsewhere, presumably in response to what occurred at Millwall.
I additionally don’t consider that almost all of Millwall followers suppose that means — nonetheless loud the booing, it was nonetheless a minority.
It appears as if it has sparked quite a lot of awkward conversations. And with out these powerful conversations about race — which aren’t simple for white folks in addition to for black folks — we won’t see real progress within the combat towards racism.
For me, it’s just like the ‘me too’ motion, which genuinely helped girls to obtain better respect within the office and elsewhere.
The identical factor is occurring now as footballers attempt to affect the combat towards racism in our recreation and wider society.
So, sure, I’ll take the knee once we play at Millwall this month.
And if we get booed, I received’t stroll off the pitch. Booing in itself isn’t racial abuse.
But when Watford gamers are racially abused at any floor, we are going to stroll off the pitch.
And what occurred in Paris on Tuesday has solely strengthened that resolve.