Brentford players explain why they have decided to stop taking the knee 1 year ago

Brentford players explain why they have decided to stop taking the knee

The players believe it no longer has its intended impact

Brentford players will no longer take the knee before kick-off, starting with today's Championship match against Barnsley.

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The gesture was brought in to English football when professional games resumed last summer following widespread Black Lives Matter protests across the country and in America. Its intended message is one of anti-racism, though many believe it is no longer having an impact.

The players arrived at the decision together after lengthy discussions as a group, before issuing a statement explaining their reasoning.

The statement read: "As a group of players, we have decided we will no longer take a knee before the start of matches. This will begin when we face Barnsley tomorrow, Sunday 14 February.

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"This decision has come after lengthy discussions as a group. We have been taking a knee before games since June but, like many of our fellow players at other clubs, no longer believe that this is having an impact. We believe we can use our time and energies to promote racial equality in other ways.

"As a group we are fully behind and proud of Brentford’s desire to become the most inclusive club in the country and the drive towards equality under the BeeTogether banner.

"We have experienced racist abuse first hand and have also seen some appalling comments made to other players past and present. There is a clear need to continue to push for an end to all discrimination and, as players, we will be part of that at Brentford FC, in football in general and in the wider community.

"Togetherness is one of our key values as a group and plays an important role in helping us move towards reaching our goals. Racism is the opposite of what we stand for.

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"As players we will show our commitment to togetherness and racial equality on and off the pitch between now and the end of the season, and beyond. We will also support our colleagues at other clubs that still want to take a knee before games."

Other players have expressed an exhaustion with the gesture. Speaking to the One The Judy podcast recently, Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha described the obligation to take the knee as degrading, saying: "The whole kneeling down - why must I kneel down for you to show that we matter? 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."

Brentford's chief executive added: "There have been detailed and lengthy discussions on this topic both in the playing group and across the club. Taking a knee is just one way our players have been showing their commitment to racial equality. We supported their desire to do it and we now support their desire to focus on other ways to show this commitment."