‘How much longer do we go on with it?’: Harry Redknapp says England players ‘can’t take the knee forever’ but says he ‘hates it when people are booing’ the gesture before games
- Redknapp was asked for his thoughts on the gesture on Great British Breakfast
- He told presenter Nana Akua: ‘I just wonder how long we keep going with it for’
- But he added how he ‘hates’ when people boo players who take the knee
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.
Former football manager Harry Redknapp has said that players taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter ‘can’t go on forever’ but that he ‘hates’ it when fans boo.
During an interview on The Great British Breakfast on the new GB News channel, Mr Redknapp, 74, was asked about his thoughts on the action as the Euro 2020 Championship matches began.
Presenter Nana Akua asked: ‘Harry what are your thoughts on taking the knee?’
To which Mr Redknapp, who has previously managed clubs including West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers, said: ‘No at first.
During an interview on The Great British Breakfast on the new GB news channel, Mr Redknapp, 74, was asked about his thoughts on the action as the Euro 2020 Championship matches began
‘You know, I just wonder how long we keep going with it for. Like most of us I’m totally against any form of racism.
‘So I just don’t know at the moment whether if we’ve made the point, how much longer we go with it.
‘But anything that can eradicate racism out of sport I’m all for it.’
Mr Redknapp then added how he ‘hates’ when people boo players who take the knee.
He said: ‘It’s not a good way to start a football match. It’s totally wrong that they do that.’
But he conceded that it may be time for players to find another way of stamping out racism and said: ‘I don’t know how long we’re going to keep doing it for, it can’t go on forever can it.’
Mr Redknapp, who has previously managed clubs including West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers, said: ‘You know, I just wonder how long we keep going with it for. Like most of us I’m totally against any form of racism’
Mr Redknapp conceded that it may be time for players to find another way of stamping out racism and said: ‘I don’t know how long we’re going to keep doing it for, it can’t go on forever can it.’ Pictured: England players taking the knee at the match against Croatia on Sunday
It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel used an interview with GB News to accuse players of ‘gesture politics’ for taking the knee before England played Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.
She also refused to criticise fans at the Euro 2020 opener who booed the team when they made the symbolic anti-racism gesture before kick-off.
Ms Patel said it was ‘choice for them’ after Gareth Southgate’s side faced jeers from a minority of fans before the game, which they went on to win 1-0.
Ahead of the game a Number 10 spokesman said that the Prime Minister wanted the public to ‘cheer them on, not boo’ at the tournament and explicitly supported those who decide to take part in the protest.
But discussing the anti-racism protest, Ms Patel said: ‘I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture, gesture politics, to a certain extent, as well.’
He then added how he ‘hates’ when people boo players who take the knee
Discussing players taking the knee, Ms Patel said: ‘I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture, gesture politics, to a certain extent, as well.’
Before the match, the FA released a statement encouraging supporters to think twice before booing footballers taking the knee.
It read: ‘Tomorrow, our England senior men’s team will begin their EURO 2020 campaign at our home, Wembley Stadium.
Gove backs players taking the knee after Patel branded it ‘gesture politics’
Michael Gove said people should have the opportunity to show their ‘strength of feeling against prejudice’, after his Cabinet colleague Priti Patel branded the act of footballers taking the knee as ‘gesture politics’.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Mr Gove said he would be ‘lustily’ supporting his native Scotland on Friday when they take on England in the Euros.
Scotland players will take the knee in solidarity with their England counterparts when they meet at Wembley in a group match.
Asked if he would be supporting people to take the knee before the game, the Cabinet Office minister told Times Radio: ‘I think that people who want to show their strength of feeling against prejudice should have the opportunity to do so.’
His comments come a day after the Home Secretary said she does not support England’s footballers taking the knee in protest against racial injustice.
‘Major tournaments don’t come around often and when they do, it’s an opportunity to unite friends, families and the country.
‘This collective support is what spurs our team on during challenging moments and it gives them the best chance of succeeding.
‘As the team has reiterated many times, they will collectively take the knee ahead of their fixtures during the tournament.
‘They are doing this as a mechanism of peacefully protesting against discrimination, injustice and inequality.
‘This is personally important to the players and the values the team collectively represents.
‘This gesture of unity and fighting against inequality can be traced back as far as the 18th century.
‘It is not new, and English football has made it very clear that it does not view this as being aligned to a political organisation or ideology.’
A minority of England fans once again defied calls not to jeer the players as they took the knee before kick-off.
Requests not to boo fell on some deaf ears, with an audible round of jeers from some of the expected 22,500 crowd at Wembley, although cheers from the vast majority soon drowned them out.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said taking the knee before football games is ‘a choice for each team’ as he refused to condemn Scotland for deciding not to perform the gesture, apart from when they play against England.
But he added: ‘I profoundly don’t think you should boo your own team before kick-off.’
The symbol of anti-racism solidarity gained attention in American football in 2016 as players protested against police brutality and racism in the US.
The act has since spread further and was adopted by footballers in the UK, partly to demonstrate that racism should not be tolerated in the sport.
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