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Bournemouth Players Announce Decision To Stop Taking The Knee Before Games

Bournemouth Players Announce Decision To Stop Taking The Knee Before Games

"We want to see action rather than words or gestures.”

Alex Reid

Alex Reid

Bournemouth's players have released a statement explaining why they will no longer take the knee before games, claiming the protest "has run its course".

When football returned last summer, Premier League and EFL players began taking a knee before kick-off to show support for the movement for racial equality. But some clubs and footballers - including Wilfried Zaha and Lyle Taylor - have decided to stop.

Bournemouth are now joining fellow Championship side Brentford in no longer kneeling before matches - starting with Saturday's 3pm kick-off against QPR.

Captain Steve Cook released a statement on Friday on behalf of the squad, saying those at the club "want to see action rather than words or gestures" when it comes to fighting racism and discrimination.

"Following discussions between the squad and with senior staff members, we have decided to no longer take the knee before games, starting this weekend against Queens Park Rangers," Cook's statement read.

"At all levels, this club prides itself on its work around equality, diversity and inclusion and as a group of players we fully embrace this.

"We all strive to ensure that AFC Bournemouth is a club which welcomes anyone, regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or religion.

"Fighting all forms of discrimination and creating an equal, inclusive society is something that we feel very passionately about.

"But that is defined by much more than a gesture, which we feel has run its course and is no longer having the effect it first did eight months ago.

"Since football restarted last June we have taken the knee before every fixture. Instead, we will now stand before games; just as we stand together with our teammates who have suffered racial abuse and as we stand with anyone who is subjected to any form of discrimination."

This week Crystal Palace forward Zaha became the first Premier League player to confirm that he won't be taking the knee pre-match, labelling the action "degrading". He also explained his view that: "The meaning behind the whole thing is becoming something that we just do now. That's not enough. I'm not going to take the knee."

Other people in the game strongly support the protest, including England manager Gareth Southgate, who described it as still "hugely powerful".

But the Bournemouth statement claims that there are other ways that their players can call for change and fight inequality.

"As footballers and role models we want to continue affecting change in a positive way but we also need support - from governing bodies and social media platforms, in particular - and want to see action rather than words or gestures," Cook's statement continued.

"We will continue to use our positions within the local community and alongside the club's Community Sports Trust to promote equality and the message that football is for everyone.

"The Community Sports Trust delivers more than 100 workshops every year to school children around equality, diversity and inclusion.

"This coming week, as an ambassador of the Respect workshop, I will be helping reinforce those messages, and my teammates will continue to do so, too.

"We have to do more to create an equal society and we will do more."

All imagery: PA Images

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Topics: Football, AFC Bournemouth, championship