Crystal Palace winger, Wilfried Zaha has vowed to stop taking a knee because the practice has not made any difference in the fight against racism. He also noted that he prefers to stand tall against racism than kneeling against it.
The 28-year-old Cote d’Ivoire forward argued that taking a knee or wearing Black Lives Matter at the back of jerseys is not enough to end discrimination against blacks.
Since the summer of 2020, when the Premier League returned from the three months coronavirus-induced break, footballers are made to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Even though footballers have been showing solidarity with the movement against racial abuse, footballers in the league have continued to be a target of racial discrimination via social media.
In recent weeks, a couple of Premier League players including Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martia have been racially abused on social media. Even Wilfried Zaha has been a victim of racial discrimination a couple of times on the internet.
Based on the fact that taking a knee is making little or no impact on the subconsciousness of those involved in abusing footballers via social media, Wilfried Zaha believes that if footballers use their platforms to fight against the trend, it would yield more positive result than just taking a knee.
While speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit recently, Wilfried Zaha described taking a knee before a match as ‘degrading’, adding that he didn’t wish to keep talking about racism except it would lead to a change.
“I’ve said before that I feel like taking the knee is degrading and stuff because growing up my parents just let me know that I should be proud to be black no matter what and I feel like we should just stand tall”, Wilfried Zaha said.
“Because I feel like taking the knee now, it’s becoming… we do it before games and even sometimes people forget that we have to do it before games.
“Trying to get the meaning behind it, it’s becoming something that we just do now and that’s not enough for me. I’m not going to take the knee, I’m not going to wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my shirt because it feels like it’s a target.
“We’re isolating ourselves, we’re trying to say that we’re equal but we’re isolating ourselves with these things that aren’t even working anyway, so that’s my stand on it. I feel like we should stand tall and now I don’t really tend to speak on racism and stuff like that because I’m not here just to tick boxes.
“Unless action is going to happen, don’t speak to me about it.”
Speaking further, Wilfried Zaha stressed that though he is not an activist, he would use his platform as a football star to try to make a change. He acknowledged the role Manchester United’s forward Marcus Rashford has been playing to make a change via his platform.
Zaha said: “Marcus Rashford, he’s got his platform there and he’s pushed through to make things happen and some people just tell him to stick to football and stuff, but how can you say that if he’s probably feeding your child?
“So obviously certain footballers will just play football and go home, but I feel like with the opportunity you have to broaden your horizon and do more, you only live once, why not? Then, if you can inspire people at the same time you’re doing it – it’s a win-win.”
The next Premier League match Wilfried Zaha is expected to play in is the league game against Brighton. The match is expected to take place on February 22, 2021, at 21:00. Football fans will be looking forward to seeing whether Zaha will take a knee or not on Monday.