According to the minister, footballers kneeling is more about symbolic than action.
A Government minister has stated that England footballers kneeling before games is “generating fresh divisions” and is “symbolism more than action.”
When the players made the gesture at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough prior to the friendly matches against Austria and Romania last week, some spectators booed them. The gesture is done to underline the message that racism and discrimination will not be accepted.
Downing Street did not denounce the jeers, but instead asked fans to be “respectful,” adding that Boris Johnson “wants the whole country to rally behind them” in the Euros.
Gareth Southgate, England’s manager, has stated that the players will continue to make the gesture in future matches.
If you must ask, do I believe it is more about symbolism than action? It is, of course. It is, of course.
When challenged about the attitude on Thursday’s BBC Question Time, education minister Gillian Keegan replied, “What’s happening here is that this in itself is actually being more divisive, it’s generating new divisions.”
When it comes to deciding whether or not to take the knee, Ms Keegan added, “people have to make their own choice.”
“Actually, what we’ve ended up with, whether it’s for monuments, the Queen’s picture, or taking the knee, we’ve ended up with these things being things that kind of divide us, and actually, united societies are what solve these enormous issues,” she replied when pressed.
“It is not my judgment to decide whether they should take the knee or not,” she added. They have complete freedom to do whatever they choose. If you must ask, do I believe it is more about symbolism than action? It is, of course. Of course it is. As Frank says, there’s a symbol about it, but the most important thing is the action. But we’ve seen it’s creating division.
“And by the way, the people who are booing, I’m pretty sure most of them would like to end racism as well. They disagree. There’s a lot of things that have been, you know, there’s different things that people are interpreting.