Friday Feb 19, 2021. 16:00
Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha says he will stop taking a knee before Premier League matches once he returns from injury.
Players have been taking a knee before kick-off in Premier League matches since July, initially in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement before England’s Premier League and English Football League linked the gesture as part of their own anti-racism campaigns.
“I feel like taking a knee is degrading. Growing up, my parents let me know that I should just be proud to be Black, no matter what. I just think we should stand tall,” Zaha told the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit on Thursday, as reported by Reuters.
“Taking the knee now… The meaning behind the whole thing is becoming something that we just do now. That’s not enough, I’m not going to take the knee.
“I’m not going to wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of my shirt, because it feels like it’s a target. We’re trying to say we are equal but these things are not working anyway.”
He added: “Now I don’t really tend to speak on racism aspects because I’m not here just to tick boxes. Unless there’s change, don’t ask me about it. Unless action is going to happen I don’t want to hear about it.”
Zaha, 28, has missed Crystal Palace’s last two Premier League outings after being forced from the field with a muscle injury in the club’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United earlier this month.
Palace have missed their talisman in successive defeats to Leeds United and Burnley and it remains unclear when the winger, who has scored nine goals in 19 league matches this season, will return from injury.