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Wilfried Zaha Becomes First Premier League Player To Not Take A Knee Before Kick-Off

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Wilfried Zaha Becomes First Premier League Player To Not Take A Knee Before Kick-Off

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha opted against taking the knee ahead of the club's Premier League clash against West Brom on Saturday afternoon.

Last month, the 28-year-old said it is "degrading" to have to take a knee before every game.

Zaha, who has suffered a disgraceful amount of racial abuse in the past, called for action, education and change after being targeted on social media last year.

And now, ahead of kick-off against Sam Allardyce's side at Selhurst Park, the former Manchester United man stood as those around him took the knee.

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Ahead of kick-off, Zaha released a statement regarding his decision not to take the knee before kick-off on Saturday.

"My decision to stand at kick-off been public knowledge for couple of weeks now." he said.

"There is no right or wrong but I feel kneeling just became a part of pre-match routine and at the moment, it doesn't matter whether we kneel or stand. Some of us still continue to receive abuse.

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"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 a society, I 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. I now want to focus on football and enjoy playing.

"I will continue to stand tall."

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Last month, Zaha opened up about a number of topics on the On The Judy podcast, including his thoughts on being used as a "tick box" without change actually happening.

Zaha also questioned why he has to wear Black Lives Matter on his shirt during a passionate speech on the YouTube podcast.

"The whole kneeling down - why must I kneel down for you to show that we matter?" Zaha said.

"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.

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"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."

He continued, saying: "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.

"All these platforms - you see what's happening, you see people making fake accounts to abuse black people constantly, but you don't change it.

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"So don't tell me to come and chat about stuff that's not going to change. Change it.

"All that stuff that you lot are doing, all these charades mean nothing."

Topics: Wilfried Zaha, Premier League, Crystal Palace

Jack Kenmare
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