Crystal Palace’s Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha says he will not take a knee before EPL games because he believes the protest is degrading.

Club players, officials and referees have been taking a knee before kick-off to support the fight against racial discrimination.

Speaking during a Financial Times‘ Business of Football conference, the forward pledged to “stand tall” when he returns after injury.

He said: “I’ve said before that I feel like taking the knee is degrading and stuff because growing up my parents just let me know that I should be proud to be black no matter what and I feel like we should just stand tall.

“Because I feel like taking the knee now, it’s becoming… we do it before games and even sometimes people forget that we have to do it before games.”

EPL clubs’ shirts also carried the Black Lives Matter slogan during the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign. This was changed this season to feature a patch promoting the league’s own anti-discrimination campaign No Room For Racism.

He added: “Trying to get the meaning behind it, it’s becoming something that we just do now and that’s not enough for me. 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 isolating ourselves, we’re trying to say that we’re equal but we’re isolating ourselves with these things that aren’t even working anyway, so that’s my stand on it. I feel like we should stand tall and now I don’t really tend to speak on racism and stuff like that because I’m not here just to tick boxes.”

 


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