“I am very proud of the footballers of my country.”
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has weighed in on the subject of the Irish football team choosing to take the knee before their friendly with Hungary during the week.
The Irish players chose to take the knee before the game in Hungary, but their decision was met by a loud chorus of boos from the home fans. Meanwhile, the Hungary players opted not to take the knee, with some of them pointing towards the word ‘respect’ on their jerseys.
Since then, the Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban condemned the Irish players’ decision to take the knee, saying: “If you’re a guest in a country then understand its culture and do not provoke it. Do not provoke the host… We can only see this gesture system from our cultural vantage point as unintelligible, as provocation.
“The fans reacted the way those who are provoked usually react to provocation. They do not always choose the most elegant form, but we have to understand their reasons… I agree with the fans.”
Proud of this team and proud of our values ✊
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) June 8, 2021
Micheál Martin on taking the knee
Similarly, Micheál Martin chose to stick by his country’s players, saying that he was “proud” of their decision to take the knee.
He said: “It’s a statement by them about how they want their sport to be and the values they want to see on the pitch and in the stadiums.
“I am very proud of the footballers of my country, for their diversity and the shared values which they have committed themselves to.”
Corkman Adam Idah pointed out after the game that the players’ decision to take the knee was not a political statement, explaining that the message behind it was simply to condemn racism and discrimination.