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06th Jul 2021

Don’t boo our England boys for taking the knee at Euros, says Sajid Javid

Charlie Herbert

He said that he would respect those who take the knee.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that he would not boo the England team for taking the knee, and would instead “watch quietly” from the crowd.

He said that, whilst he would not personally choose to take the knee, he “respects” those who do.

The England team have taken the knee before each of their matches in the build-up and during Euro 2020, despite consistently being booed by sections of fans for doing so.

Javid’s words put him at odds with other members of Boris Johnson’s cabinet, most notably Priti Patel who labelled the act as “gesture politics” and said that fans have the right to boo the players before matches.

And then of course there’s Tory MP Lee Anderson, who vowed to boycott England’s games at Euro 2020 in protest against the gesture. He claimed the players were supporting a “political movement” and risked alienating “traditional supporters.” Anderson’s boycott promise hasn’t been forgotten in the wake of the England team’s performances at the tournament so far.

The Prime Minister himself has condemned fans that boo the players, although it took him a while to do so.

Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday: “I can understand why some players choose to do that. I think it’s completely up to them.

“What I don’t understand, though, is those people in the crowd that then boo that or shout at the players for doing that. I think people should just respect others for expressing their views in a different way. For me it’s just something if I was in the crowd I would just watch quietly.

“I don’t think anyone should be booing people for doing something like that.”

He added: “It’s not something I would do, because I do think it is a gesture…I’m much more interested in changing things and fortunately I’m in a position where I can do a bit of that by being government.

“But I respect those that choose to express themselves in that way. It’s not an issue for me at all.”