The Crystal Palace striker has said he will stop kneeling ahead of Premier League games and instead wants to see concrete actions to tackle racism.
The 28-year-old Ivorian international, speaking at the FT Business Of Football Summit 2021, an event hosted by the British business newspaper, said his parents told him he must be proud to be black and that he had to “stand up”. “This gesture has become something that we do just like that, and it’s not enough for me,” he said. “I’m not going to put my knee on the ground, I’m not going to wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of my t-shirt because I feel like it’s like carrying a target.”
Premier League players, officials and match staff have been kneeling before the start of fixtures since the 2019/20 season resumed in June to show their support for tackling racial inequality. NFL American footballer Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers pioneered the move in 2016, during the pre-game American anthem.
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) February 18, 2021
In England, Premier League club jerseys also carried the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ at the end of last season, before being changed for the current season to include the anti-discrimination campaign crest. of the league itself, “No Room For Racism”.
But a number of players, including Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, have faced racist attacks on social media in recent weeks. Players from several teams, including Brentford in the second division, have stopped kneeling ahead of matches and Zaha feels it has become an empty move.
“We try to say we’re equal, but we isolate ourselves with these things that don’t even work anyway, so that’s my position on it. Unless concrete action is planned, I don’t even want to hear about it, ”the footballer concluded.