Wilfried Zaha is the first Premier League footballer to confirm that he won’t take the knee, saying he will “stand tall” instead.
The Crystal Palace forward explained that he believes the anti-racism protest, widely seen before kick-offs at matches, has lost its power – and that he won’t be participating when he returns to action following a thigh injury.
“Growing up, my parents just let me know that I should just be proud to be black, no matter what, and I just think we should stand tall,” Zaha said at the FT Business of Football conference per the Guardian.
“I think the meaning behind the whole thing is becoming something that we just do now.
Woke up to this today. pic.twitter.com/Zal0F96htJ
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 12, 2020
“That’s not enough. I’m not going to take the knee.”
The 28-year-old had spoken last week about how he found the action “degrading” and claimed it wasn’t changing anything. But this is the first time he’s confirmed he’s choosing not to take a knee.
“The whole kneeling down – why must I kneel down for you to show that we matter?” Zaha said on the On The Judy podcast a week ago.
“Why must I even wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my top to show you that we matter? This is all degrading stuff.
“When people constantly want to get me to do Black Lives Matter talks and racial talks and I’m like, I’m not doing it just so you can put ‘Zaha spoke for us’. Like a tick box, basically.
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 13, 2020
“I’m not doing any more, because unless things change. I’m not coming to chat to you just for the sake of it, like all the interviews I’ve done.
The Ivory Coast international suggests that the protests have failed to make an impact on the amount of racial abuse footballers are getting, particularly online.