Palace forward Zaha explains decision not to take the knee

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has explained his decision not to take the knee following his return from injury.

The Ivorian international, 28, became the first Premier League player not to take the knee on Saturday.

He remained standing before Palace’s match against Sam Allardyce’s West Brom.

OPINION: Mendy, Tuchel build a base from which Chelsea can thrive

In a statement released to the PA news agency, Zaha said: “My decision to stand at kick-off has been public knowledge for a couple of weeks now.

“There is no right or wrong decision, but for me personally I feel kneeling has just become a part of the pre-match routine and at the moment it doesn’t matter whether we kneel or stand, some of us still continue to receive abuse.

“I know there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes at the Premier League and other authorities to make change, and I fully respect that, and everyone involved. I also fully respect my team-mates and players at other clubs who continue to take the knee.

“As a society, I feel we should be encouraging better education in schools, and social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse others online – not just footballers.

“I now just want to focus on football and enjoy being back playing on the pitch. I will continue to stand tall.”

Zaha revealed his decision not to kneel a few weeks before his return to the pitch.

The player picked up a thigh injury in early February and missed five league matches.

He returned for Palace’s 4-1 loss at the hands of Tottenham on March 3.

However, he was brought off the bench at half time and therefore missed the display of support.

It was unclear whether Zaha’s Palace teammates would join him by standing before the fixture.

Zaha is a popular figure in the dressing room but the players instead opted to kneel.

He isn’t the only person to speak out against taking the knee.

Championship side Brentford revealed in February that they would stop doing so.

In a statement, the club said: “As a group of players, we have decided we will no longer take a knee before the start of matches.

“This decision has come after lengthy discussions as a group. We have been taking a knee before games since June but no longer believe that this is having an impact.”

Source link

Back to top button