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The sight of all 22 players, plus officials, taking the knee before the two Premier League games on Wednesday with ‘Black Lives Matter’ adorning the back of their shirts, was obviously pretty powerful.
“For the first 12 games players will have ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of their shirts and the badge on their sleeve,” said Carl Anka on the latest edition of the Totally Football Show. “I believe the badge was designed by Troy Deeney’s girlfriend, and the agreement was brought forward by the work of Deeney and Wes Morgan.”
But powerful as it was, that can’t be it. There has to be more. Carl continued:
“I’m saying this as the black journalist on the podcast: I think it’s fantastic. I have written a piece for the Athletic about how football can be a bit too pleased to pat itself on the back for these symbols, so while it was a powerful image, I didn’t need Sky Sports to tell me it was a powerful, moving image. Sometimes you can just let it sit there.
“This is important, the movement Black Lives Matter: black people deserve basic human rights, and it would be nice if police didn’t disproportionately attack black people and somehow not receive any form of justice. That’s good. It’s nice. That’s a great statement and I don’t think anyone should disagree with it once properly explained.
“Something I’m finding quite difficult right now is if I go onto social media, if I go onto any Premier League club’s Facebook page, I will see a number of comments like “why can’t we wear the poppy?” Well, you do. You do wear the poppy. “You should wear the NHS badge instead.” The NHS badge is there as well.
“So yes, these are moving, powerful images, but it would be nice if we were a bit clearer with the underlying caption, as to why these players are wearing Black Lives Matter badges, what Black Lives Matter means, because I am worried that the conversation to some football fans – they think Black Lives Matter is somehow “putting politics into football” which, of course – I don’t understand why ‘black people deserve human rights’ is a political statement, and I don’t understand why it’s a controversial one either.”
Daniel Storey added:
“Football has its own issues. There’s no black person on the FA board, there are no black referees in the Premier League or the Football League, there are few – disproportionately few – black coaches.
“It also has to come with a resolution for action than just a statement. Which in itself is powerful, but the reason it’s powerful is because football has such sway, and responsibility, and power itself. So do something with it.”
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