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Zaha: We should stand tall, ta...
Soccer

Zaha: We should stand tall, taking the knee is degrading

Wilfried Zaha believes players taking a knee prior to games has run its course. 

The gesture has been commonplace since the Premier League's return to action in the summer, and was done to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Several grounds up and down the league are also adorned with Black Lives Matter banners, or their variants, in the absence of fans in the stands.

Sadly, this has done little to quell the toxic cycle of racist abuse suffered by many black footballers in England and Scotland.

Speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football event, Zaha said, "Obviously 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.

“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."

Zaha added, "Unless action is going to happen, don’t speak to me about it.”

Several high-profile black figures in the game - like QPR Director of Football Les Ferdinand - have long called the taking of the knee an empty gesture, calling for more direct action to be taking to combat racism.

Meanwhile, Zaha remains sidelined with an hamstring injury. He's missed their last two Premier League games, both of which Palace have lost to nil.

"He's still suffering from the injury, there's no question of that," said manager Roy Hodgson, "The doctors in particular and physios are very anxious to not put dates on people so they’d be very angry with me if I suggested dates he could return.

"He’s working very hard to get back as soon as he can. I’m rather hoping the prognosis will be different to the actual timescale."

Hodgson did have a positive note for Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny, with James McCarthy nearing a return to full fitness.

"James McCarthy trained today, which is very positive, so we'll see how he trained through that," said the Palace boss ahead of their Premier League trip to Brighton.

"But a couple of others picked up slight knocks that we need to keep an eye on - we don't know how well they'll recover."

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Black Lives Matter Crystal Palace James McCarthy Palace Premier League Roy Hodgson Taking A Knee Wilfried Zaha

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