Arsenal Football Club of England yesterday morning took the entire world by surprise by kneeling in solidarity for Black_Lives_Matter, a symbolic support for the anti-racism movement, and a condemnation of the racist murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA which happened on May 25th, 2020. Taking the knee is a protest where people touch the floor with one knee while squatting, in protest against racial injustice, police brutality and systematic oppression in the the USA, and even, the world over. It was started by Colin Kaepernick who in August, 2016, first sat on the floor, then knelt with one leg, during the national anthem of USA, at a preseason game of the American Football (rugby) club San Francisco 49ers. Arsenal said yesterday, “Earlier today at Emirates Stadium, our squad and staff wore Black Lives Matter shirts, before the players and Mikel Arteta took the knee on the pitch ahead of kick-off.”
The Arsenal players also spotted messages like “I’m not Black but I Stand with You” worn by Spanish player Hector Bellerin; “My Skin is Not a Crime” worn by Nigerian/English Bukayo Saka; “Black Lives Matter” worn by French youngster Matteo Guendouzi; “I Can’t Breathe” worn by Scottish left back, Kieran Tierney; “Silence is Violence” worn by English starlet Joseph Willock; “We Stand for Change” worn by Nicolas Pepe; and “We Stand in Solidarity” worn by Mikel Arteta, the Manager and coach. See pictures below.
Colin Kaepernick told National Football League, NFL media, in an interview immediately after the game where he started the protest, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Arsenal Football Club, since their recruitment of French tactician Arsene Wenger, have taken time to build a reputation for themselves as liberal upholders of social responsibility and supporters of progressive ideals and ideas. Aside being renowned for their beautiful football style, they have built an appeal for exhibiting utmost integrity in both finances and relationships.
The Arsenal Football Club has been known also, to have pioneered the influx of foreign players into the English Premier League, and have seen many black and African players excel at the club. Among them, the club’s legends Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Ian Wright, Nwankwo Kanu, Kolo Touré, and most recently, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, and Bukayo Saka are looking to take the same path.
The black lives matter protests have defied the restrictions on movement, since the first protests in Minneapolis, and spread to many parts of the world.