As a form of protest, Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player who refuses to take a knee in support of the fight against racism.
Wilfried Zaha made history today after becoming the first Premier League player who refuses to take a knee before an official match. English football has been cracking down against racism for years and taking a knee was the latest form of protest. Everything took a wild turn during the first year of the pandemic after all the events that took place in the United States. However, racism has been a serious issue in European football for decades. In reality, this is a systemic issue that never went away.
Wilfried Zaha is one of the most vocal players against this issue and he decided to take a stand today. Recently, he already stated the reason he doesn’t agree with kneeling. He finally stood by his words today right before the Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion Premier League match. The image of Zaha standing while the rest of the players kneel is part of the history books.
Zaha explains his decision to stand.
After the game, the Crystal Palace star explained why he decided to remain standing: “My decision to stand at kick-off been public knowledge for couple of weeks now. No right or wrong but I feel kneeling just become a part of pre-match routine + at moment doesn’t matter whether we kneel or stand, some of us still continue to receive abuse. I know there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes at the Premier League and other authorities to make change, and I fully respect that, and everyone involved.
“I also fully respect my teammates and players at other clubs who continue to take the knee. As society feel we should be encouraging better education in schools + social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse others – not just footballers – online . Now want to focus on football + enjoy playing. I will continue to stand tall.”