Brentford striker Ivan Toney explains why he still won't take the knee this season 3 months ago

Brentford striker Ivan Toney explains why he still won't take the knee this season

Ivan Toney will still not take the knee

Brentford FC made headlines last season when they became the first EFL team to stop taking the knee before kick-off, explaining that they didn't believe the gesture had its intended impact, and that not enough concrete action had been taken in the fight against racism.

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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," the club statement said at the time.

Their promotion to the Premier League then threw up questions as to whether they would continue in their stance, or join the rest of the league in making the gesture. A recent statement from the Premier League answered those questions, stating that all 20 Premier League sides would take the knee for the 21/22 season, a decision wholeheartedly backed by the Premier League.

But Ivan Toney, the Bees' star striker, has since issued a statement on his social media channels explaining that he will continue to stand tall, while supporting the decision of his teammates.

"I'd like to thank my teammates and the Club for supporting my decision not to take the knee at our games this season," the post read.

"I'd also like to add that I wholeheartedly support my fellow professionals to take the knee as we all continue the fight against racism.

"In February 2021 I made a decision not to continue taking the knee for a number of reasons," he added.

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"Personally I have not seen enough positive change that supports black people in football and and in society in general.

"I was racially abused online on several occasions last season and I felt that I was then being forced to act on the crime that was committed against me.

"The Club, the league, the social media companies and the police all had the evidence of the crime and did not or could not proceed with any investigation which, as was proven in the Ian Wright case, would have probably ended without any form of punishment to the perpetrator(s).

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Toney continued: "The messaging around taking the knee included asking every individual 'what can they do to fight racism?'

"How many of those taking the knee or those watching players take the knee then stand up and carry on with their daily lives without doing something to make a positive change because racism does not affect them?" he posed.

"I will continue to work with the Club to tackle racism and look forward to being part of the fantastic journey ahead in the Premier League for everyone associated with Brentford Football Club."

Toney will not be the only black player in the Premier League to go against the grain in this regard. Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha also chooses to stand tall for similar reasons, saying: "There is no right or wrong decision, but for me personally I feel kneeling has just become a part of the 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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What is important to remember is that these players are taking a different approach to the same fight: tackling racism. Those who booed players taking the knee should not feel vindicated by these players choosing to stand.