“The symbolic gesture of taking a knee is not enough.”
Derby County have become the latest Championship side to stop taking a knee before matches, following in the footsteps of Brentford and Bournemouth who have released strong statements asking for more action against racism.
Derby’s move comes a week after their striker Colin Kazim-Richards received racist social media abuse, which the police are still investigating.
Black lives matter.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death in the USA last May, the Premier League and the Football League decided players would take the knee before kick-offs in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign.
Notably, the Premier League – having initially used ‘Black Lives Matter’ as their slogan – now adopts the ‘No Room for Racism’ campaign.
While the Derby County players want to promote racial equality, they feel like the act of taking the knee is no longer having an impact – with Kazim-Richards case the prime example.
Every member of Derby County stood together instead of taking a knee. Understand they’ll continue to do this for the reason of the season. pic.twitter.com/J6o5lC02P8
— Ryan Conway (@RJConway92) March 6, 2021
“This decision has been made after discussions as a group, including first-team players and senior staff members, in recent days,” a Derby statement said.
“It has been decided, as a collective group, to no longer take a knee. This decision has been made because the symbolic gesture of taking a knee is not enough; more needs to be done and we are committed to playing an important role in this.
“Derby County is proud to continue its work with many fantastic organisations and individuals, both nationally and in the local community, to strive for equality and diversity in not just football but society.
Derby County’s players and staff have confirmed, unanimously, that they will no longer take a knee before matches.
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) March 6, 2021
“We will support the fight against all forms of discrimination by delivering the unified message of standing together as one.
“No longer taking a knee does not change the club’s stance on all forms of discrimination. It will not be tolerated at Derby County; this is categorically clear.
“The club will, wholeheartedly, support players and staff at other clubs that still want to take a knee before games involving Derby County. We are all in this together.”
Derby’s away game against Coventry at the St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium was the first game in which Wayne Rooney’s side didn’t take the knee.
Instead, both players and staff linked arms on the touchline in a show of solidarity. It is believed that they will do this for the remainder of the season.
Earlier in the week, Rooney himself had asked the EFL for some guidance on taking the knee.