Ferdinand, Ashley Cole & Martin Keown all wear Black Lives Matter badges despite controversy over UK wing

RIO FERDINAND, Ashley Cole and Martin Keown have all chosen to keep wearing Black Lives Matter badges tonight.

Their decision came after fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp ditched his BLM badge in the wake of controversial tweets by the movement.

Ferdinand and Cole were part of Sky's line-up while Martin Keown was part of BT Sport's coverage.

Black Lives Matter UKhas come under recent scrutiny after it shared tweets about Israel and defunding the police.

Redknapp was joined by colleagues Gary Neville, Patrice Evra and Kelly Cates in not wearing the badge last night.

For Evra, it wasn't the first time he hasn't worn the badge.

He has appeared as a pundit on Sky twice since the Premier League returned – during United's win last night and their opening game of the restart against Tottenham Hotspur on June 19.

And he did not wear a badge during the coverage of either game.

His fellow pundit Roy Keane did wear a Black Lives Matter badge on June 19 despite Evra choosing not to.

The Black Lives Matter movement was thrust into the spotlight after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

A video of his killing showing a white police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck as he gasped "I can't breathe" went viral and sparked worldwide protests.

Evra shared a passionate video to Twitter last month as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum.

"Nobody is born a racist. We are all human beings. Hate is taught. It's an education problem," Evra tweeted on June 8, while also using the hashtag "BlackLivesMatter".

The Sun Online has contacted Evra's representatives for comment.

Since the Premier League returned after lockdown on June 17, players have knelt before kickoff and had 'Black Lives Matter' patches on their sleeves.

It now appears the badges have been dropped by Sky Sports pundits after a series of tweets by the UK branch of Black Lives Matter – which criticised Israel and called on the government to "defund the police".

But Sky Sports said pundits and hosts were able to make their own decisions about wearing Black Lives Matter badges.

A spokesperson for Sky Sports told The Sun Online: "Sky’s support is for the moral cause and campaign, that black lives matter, rather than for any political organisation.

"Our presenters and analysts on-screen are free to make their own choice as to whether they wear supportive badges or not."

Matt Le Tissier, meanwhile, will keep wearing a Black Lives Matter badge on TV after criticising the movement's "far-left" calls to defund the police.

He had questioned if he should sport the item as he doesn't support the group's anti-capitalist views, but decided to keep the pin on to fight racism.

The 51-year-old pundit said yesterday: "I just don't agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti capitalist points are things I do not agree with.

"They are the two main points for me. I am quite happy for them to have their point of view, but that is mine and that is where I sit.

"I think a lot of people in the country would agree with me.

"I will still wear the badge because I do of course believe black lives matter. It's a simple thing.

"I agree with the cause but there are parts of the organisation that I just cannot support."

The Premier League now appear to have distanced themselves from the movement.

Yesterday it said it recognised "the importance of the message that black lives matter" but said it "does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity". 

It is now being discussed by several players, with a group of captains considering whether to make a public statement, Sportsmail reported.

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK wrote a series of Tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed "mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism". 

The next day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called it a "shame" that the movement was getting "tangled up with these organisational issues" and said calls to defund the police were "nonsense".

Black Lives Matter UK hit back by tweeting that "as a public prosecutor, Sir Keir Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit".

Black Lives Matter’s adoption of the slogan “defund the police” in particular has caused controversy over the aim to "dismantle capitalism".

One of BLM’s biggest demands is that police forces are disbanded and their funds redirected into youth and mental health services.

Since the Premier League started up again, all 20 clubs agreed to wear Black Lives Matter patches and guests appearing on Sky have worn badges.

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