Brentford players will stop taking a knee before their games, as they believe the gesture is “no longer having an impact” in the fight against racism and discrimination in football.
Players across the English professional leagues started kneeling before kick-off when football resumed in June after the first coronavirus lockdown, to highlight racial inequality issues sparked by the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May last year.
A statement from the #BrentfordFC dressing room
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) February 13, 2021
Players from Brentford, from this point on, however, will not take the knee before matches as a component of English football’s anti-racism campaign but will discover “alternate approaches” to help racial equity, the Championship club released a club statement on their social media before their match against Barnsley. Players have been taking a knee since July, initially, in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement before the Premier League and English Football League linked the gesture to their own anti-racism campaigns.
The home game against Barnsley was the first-ever match where players did not display the respectful gesture. Jon Varney, Brentford’s CEO said, “Taking a knee is only one way our players have been showing their obligation to racial correspondence, we supported their desire to do it and 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.”
Brentford said “racism was the opposite of what we stand for” and that they would uphold different clubs that take the knee before games. “There is a reasonable need to keep on pushing for a finish to all kinds of discriminations,” the club said. “As players, we will show our obligation to fellowship and racial uniformity on and off the pitch among now and the finish of the period, and past.”
Symbolism definitely matters today and the larger picture of how exactly Brentford proposes “to promote racial equality in the other ways” and what initiatives they plan to use to combat the acts of racism, is yet to be determined. It’s a strong, potentially unpopular stand, but a statement that could spark the start of other clubs following suit.
[Image Credit: Brentford FC]