Reasons Crystal Palace Wilfried Zaha refused to take the knee in a match against West Brom


Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player not to take the knee before a match against West Brom on Saturday.

After being named in the starting line-up by Roy Hodgson on Saturday, the 28-year-old Ivory Coast International stood tall while the rest of his Palace team-mates and their opponents kneeled just before the kick-off at Selhurst Park in support of the anti-racism movement.

Recall that at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit last month, Zaha said he would no longer take the knee as he believes the protest has lost its impact.

“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.

“Trying to get the meaning behind it (taking the knee), it’s becoming something that we just do now and that’s not enough for me. I’m not going to take the knee.

“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,” he said.

Immediately after the kick-off on Saturday, a statement was reportedly released.

“There is no right or wrong decision, but for me personally I feel kneeling has just become a part of the pre-match routine and at the moment it doesn’t matter whether we kneel or stand, some of us still continue to receive abuse.

“I know there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes at the Premier League and other authorities to make change, and I fully respect that, and everyone involved. I also fully respect my teammates and players at other clubs who continue to take the knee.

“As society feel we should be encouraging better education in schools and social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse others – not just footballers – online . Now want to focus on football and enjoy playing. I will continue to stand tall.”

Championship clubs like Millwall, Derby, Bournemouth and Brentford have stopped taking the knee before matches.


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