A reporter on GB News took the knee live on air after suddenly realising the importance to make a statement to combat racism in football.
While England accomplished reaching the final of Euro 2020, the overriding narrative has been the disgusting racist abuse footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka received after missing their penalties in the defeat to Italy.
The team proved exactly why taking the knee is so vital when the statement provoked such a forceful and loud reaction from opposition.
However, after Twitter removed over 1,000 racist messages aimed at the three players and banned several accounts, it’s become clear even to some who were against taking the knee in football that making such vocal and prominent displays on the pitch have never been so important.
During his GB News programme today alongside co-presenter Mercy Muroki, Guto Harri said he now ‘gets’ why the England team refused to listen to the critics before taking the knee himself.
‘All politics is about gestures, not just about running public services,’ he said.
Guti Harri made a U-turn over his stance on taking the knee in football (Picture: GB News)
‘It’s about signalling what’s right and wrong about a country.’
He continued: ‘I’ve never understood why people find it offensive. I tended to be one of those people who thought “do we really need to do this at every football match?”
‘But having seen just how close to the surface how hideously ugly racism among some English fans is, I totally get it why this squad throughout wanted to make a stand, day in, day out, every time they took to the pitch.
‘With the benefit of hindsight, I might have underestimated how close to the surface the racism is.’
Following England’s defeat on Sunday, a mural of Rashford was defaced and plastered with racist messages. Street artist AkseP19, who was responsible for the original community project, was seen fixing it this morning.
Boris Johnson told racists to ‘crawl back under their rock’, but the Prime Minister has been widely criticised for previously ‘fuelling’ racist behaviour, calling Muslim women ‘letterboxes’ and Black people ‘picaninnies with watermelon smiles’.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ‘disgusted’ by the racism shown by some England fans just a week after defending those who booed England players taking the knee and calling the protest ‘gesture politics’.