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Wilfried Zaha Says Taking Knee Every Week And Wearing BLM Shirts Is ‘Degrading’

Jack Kenmare

| Last updated 

Wilfried Zaha Says Taking Knee Every Week And Wearing BLM Shirts Is ‘Degrading’

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha says it is "degrading" to have to take a knee before every game.

The 28-year-old, 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.

He has since 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.

Image: PA
Image: PA

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.

"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.

"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.

"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."

Zaha was the subject of racist abuse in July last year ahead of Crystal Palace's Premier League fixture at Aston Villa.

A 12-year-old boy was arrested by West Midlands Police in relation to the abuse.

"People need to understand that whatever your age, that your behaviour and your words come with consequences and you cannot hide behind social media," he wrote on social media afterwards.

"It is important social media platforms do as they did yesterday and seek out those individuals and remove them.

"This is not the first time I have received messages like this, nor am I the only player to receive messages like this - it happens every day.

"I want to thank everyone for the love and support but enough is enough! It is not enough to be disgusted by these messages and move on.

"'We need action, we need education, we need to change."

Zaha's comments come after Nottingham Forest striker Lyle Taylor explained his decision not to take a knee before games. He also strongly criticised the Black Lives Matter campaign.

The Championship striker scored the only goal in Forest's FA Cup third-round tie against Cardiff City in January.

And in his post-match comments, Taylor explained that he believes the effectiveness of taking a knee has been "diluted beyond belief".

"My support for what is that we're trying to achieve is absolute, but I do not support Black Live Matter as an institution or organisation," he told BBC Radio Nottingham, per Nottinghamshire Live.

"I would request anyone looks into Black Lives Matter to look into what that organisation does and what they stand for because it's scandalous that the world and the world's media has got behind Black Lives Matter.

"Not the message; of course black lives matter. [But] standing behind Black Lives Matter and all the institutions that have done that - the BBC, Sky, all of them saying Black Lives Matter - it's not a good idea because of what the organisation stands for.

"The message overall is 100% important, don't get me wrong on that... In terms of black lives actually mattering and black people being killed by police more frequently, that's not a good thing.

"Black lives do matter, but you'll never hear me say Black Lives Matter again in reference to that company."

Image: PA
Image: PA

The Black Lives Matter group was founded in 2013 after the death of black American teenager, Trayvon Martin. He was shot dead but the man charged with his murder was acquitted.

The movement became increasingly visible worldwide following the death of another black American, George Floyd, who died after police officer Derek Chauvin pushed his knee into Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes.

Footballers taking a knee before kick-off became a common sight in 2020 after football returned, with players also wearing Black Lives Matter on their shirts.

It has continued this year and has the support of most professional players

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Black Lives Matter, Wilfried Zaha, blm, Premier League, Crystal Palace

Jack Kenmare
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