Wilfried Zaha explains decision to stand tall rather than take the knee
Zaha had spoken of his intentions weeks ago
Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League footballer to opt out of taking the knee before kick-off this weekend.
A leading voice among footballers in the fight against racism, Zaha has spoken out many times about the abuse he receives, and the need for social media companies to stronger action.
In recent weeks, Zaha said in multiple interviews that he would no longer be adhering to the custom of taking the knee before kick-off in protest against discrimination, as the gesture had lost its meaning and begun to feel hollow.
"I feel like taking a knee is degrading. Growing up, my parents just let me know that I should just be proud to be black, no matter what, and I just think we should stand tall," the Palace forward said while speaking at the FT Business of Football conference.
And ahead of Palace's game against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, the Ivorian born player clarified his stance via a statement from his agency, Roc Nation.
"My decision to stand at kick-off has been public knowledge for a couple of weeks now," it read.
"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.
"I know there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes at the Premier League and other authorities to make change, and I fully respect that, and everyone involved. I also fully respect my teammates and players at other clubs who continue to take the knee.
"As a society, I feel we should be encouraging better education in schools, and social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse others online - not just footballers.
"I now just want to focus on football and enjoy being back playing on the pitch.
"I will continue to stand tall."