The manager of Wolves, Nuno Espirito has vowed to continue taking a knee in solidarity with the fight against racial discrimination even if he has to do it alone.
Since June 2020, after the coronavirus-induced break was over and the 2019-2020 season restarted, taking a knee before a match became a tradition in the Premier League. All the clubs in the league agreed to carry out the gesture before every game in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The movement gained worldwide attention after the gruesome murder of an African-American, George Floyd, in the United States by a white police officer. To continually express their agitation against racial discrimination in the world, clubs in the Premier League didn’t stop the culture of taking a knee before league games in the 2020-2021 season.
However, in recent weeks, there have been receding voices among some players and coaches in the league in regards to the effectiveness of taking a knee against racial discrimination. Their argument was based on the fact that racial abuse via social media has increased despite how consistent players and coaches have been taking a knee against it.
One of the prominent players that have spoken against the tradition of taking a knee before matches, was Crystal Palace star, Wilfried Zaha. The winger thought that the gesture has proven to be ineffective and should be stopped. He urged players to use their platforms to speak against racial discrimination instead of taking a knee.
But Nuno Espirito who happens to be the only Black, Asian, and minority ethnic football manager in the Premier League insisted ahead of Wolves game against Aston Villa scheduled for today, March 6, 2021, at 18:30, that he doesn’t mind taking a knee alone.
The 47-year-old Portuguese tactician argued that taking a knee could still make a difference, adding that “it’s an individual (issue)” for those that don’t believe in the practice.
“I will continue to do it because it is a way to show my position and my idea on it, and if one day I will do it by myself if they give me the chance, I will do it. We cannot give up”, Nuno Espirito added.
“The results don’t come immediately but you cannot give up. It’s a long, long battle that we have to do. We cannot give up even if the impact is not immediate. Through time we will reach it.”
On the fact that Premier League games are being played behind closed doors, Nuno Espirito whose team suffered a 4-1 defeat in the hands of Manchester City on March 2, believes that the coronavirus vaccines that are being rolled out in the United Kingdom could help to fast track the return of fans to stadiums.
“I have no doubts about it, it’s safe, it’s approved,” the coach said. “I say to everyone, a vaccine is a key step for easing restrictions and a key step for us to go back.”