As sports leagues around the world return to playing, there have been numerous instances where players, coaches, officials and even entire leagues have stood in solidarity with the black lives matter movement. This has been seen in the Bundesliga, where players have knelt before matches, similar to the way that former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the US national anthem before games. The Premier League have also followed suit with their own way of honouring the movement.
The Premier League have responded fantastically to the black lives matter movement, implementing a number of changes to contribute to promote racial equality in football. The first of these comes in the kits that players will be wearing in the games. Players names will be replaced with “Black Lives Matter” on the back of shirts for the first 12 matches. The Premier League badge, which is usually placed on the right sleeve of the players shirts, has also been replaced with a circular BLM logo which will remain until the end of the season. It’s not just the match kits which have undergone a makeover though, players have also been warming up in BLM t-shirts before games.
Personally, I think the Premier League have approached this in the correct manner and are obviously making an effort to promote racial equality, especially at a time when some fans have reacted negatively to the move. It only takes a quick scroll through Facebook to find comments such as “keep politics out of football”.
They’re missing the point though…
BLM isn’t a political movement. It’s a social movement which seeks racial equality and is not attached to any particular party. The Premier League aren’t getting political here, they’re doing the right thing and they’re right to ignore comments of this type.
The players have also responded well, as in a joint players statement released by the league they said: ‘We, the players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for all, regardless of their colour or creed’. They have also chosen to kneel before matches, which is an impressive show of solidarity.
Overall, I believe the Premier League have responded remarkably well to the racial injustices happening all over the world. It’s really encouraging to see the league take a strong stance against racism and I hope that this will lead to a more inclusive environment for all involved in the sport.
Featured image source: Jonathan McIntosh via Flickr
Last modified: 20th June 2020