Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha says he will stop taking the knee & calls for further action in fight against racism

Robbie Copeland
Zaha says he will no longer take the knee
Zaha says he will no longer take the knee / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Wilfried Zaha has called on footballing authorities to do more in the fight against racism, saying that 'taking the knee' has lost its meaning.

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the Premier League asked players to take the knee before matches in the summer as a nod to Colin Kaepernick - the NFL quarter-back who famously kneeled during the American national anthem in 2016.

The gesture was introduced in England amid the protests that followed the death of George Floyd in May, and it has taken on further meaning in recent weeks, with several black players subjected to racist abuse on social media.

Players of all races have supported the gesture and the wider BLM movement, but Crystal Palace star Zaha says he will stop taking the knee from now on, as without further action, it has lost its impact. Instead, he called on black players to 'stand tall' in the face of adversity.

He told Sky Sports: "I feel like taking the knee is degrading. Growing up, my parents just let me know that I should be proud to be black no matter what.

"We do it before games but even then, sometimes people forget that we have to do it before games. It's becoming something that we just do now and that's not enough for me.

"I'm not going to take the knee. I'm not going to wear black lives mater on the back of my shirt because it feels like it's a target.

"We're isolating ourselves. I feel like we should all stand tall.

"I don't really tend to speak on racism and stuff like that because I'm not here just to tick boxes. Unless action is going to happen, don't speak to me about it."

Zaha went on to praise Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford for his activism, and said more of his peers should step forward and use their platforms to affect real change.

"I'm not really an activist but if I've got a platform to try and make a change, why not?

"No matter how small my platform is compared to other people, I don't see why I would not say anything on something that means a lot to me and means a lot to other people. I feel like I have a duty to do what I can.

"Marcus Rashford, he's got his platform there and he's pushed through to make things happen. Some people just tell him to stick to football and stuff, but how can you say that if he's probably feeding your child?

"So obviously certain footballers will just play football and go home, but I feel like with the opportunity you have to broaden your horizon and do more, you only live once, why not? Then, if you can inspire people at the same time you're doing it - it's a win-win."

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