Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso says he has stopped taking the knee before matches because he believes the action is “losing a bit of strength”.
Players and staff across English football have been taking the knee since the Premier League returned last June to show support for those suffering from discrimination, injustice and inequality, and to draw attention to those issues that exist within football and wider society.
During Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Alonso was the only player to stand before kick-off, instead of kneeling.
He instead pointed to the ‘No Room for Racism’ badge on the shirt, and explained why he would be continuing the gesture going forward.
Alonso explains decision not to take knee
Alonso said (as quoted by Sky Sports): “I am fully against racism and I’m against every type of discrimination, and I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says no to racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries.
“I prefer to do it this and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody.”
He added: “I just prefer to do it this way. It’s my way to do it, it’s my way to do it, I think it’s another way.
“And maybe I think it’s losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism.”
Alonso revealed that he has not spoken to his Chelsea team-mates about his decision, and will continue to point to his sleeve before matches.
He is not the first player to elect not to take the knee. Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha said the action was “degrading” back in February, and that footballers should instead “stand tall” against racism.
Brentford, meanwhile, elected not to take the knee from February onwards last season. However, after meetings between players and staff, they decided to once again take the knee this season.
They said in a club statement posted in August: “Taking the knee will not on its own solve the problems of racism but it will continue to draw attention to the discrimination that exists within football, as well as society generally.”
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