We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Why Eng­lish foot­ball needs the knee

18 6 13

The Premier League kicked off earlier this month. With the top tier of English football announcing that players will now only take the knee before select matches, and not every game this season, it is worth revisiting a question that is central to the debate over the powerful protest act: what did it achieve?

Players began to kneel for a few seconds before the opening whistle when games resumed after a pandemic-forced break in June 2020, inspired by Black Lives Matter protests in the United States following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The act of taking a knee soon became a common sight in stadiums across England, drawing cheers and boos alike.

Equally mixed are the views within the football community. When does the performance of an anti-racist ritual in sports amplify its activist politics – and when does it turn counterproductive and serve to neutralise the effect?

On the one hand are players like England-born Ivory Coast international Wilfred Zaha, who stopped taking the knee last year in the Premier League,........

© Al Jazeera

Get it on Google Play