- Samson Omale
Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha becomes 1st Premier League player NOT to take a knee
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player not to take a knee in solidarity with the anti-racism movement before Saturday’s match against West Bromwich Albion.
Ivory Coast international Wilfried Zaha stood tall while the rest of his Palace team-mates and their opponents kneeled just before kick-off at Selhurst Park.
The 28-year-old revealed last month when speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit he would no longer perform a gesture which has been followed by Premier League players, officials and staff since June.
“My decision to stand at kick-off has been public knowledge for a couple of weeks now,” Wilfried Zaha said in a statement released on Saturday. 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.
Wilfried Zaha joins Championship clubs Millwall, Derby, Bournemouth and Brentford in no longer taking part in kneeling before matches.
The gesture was brought in as a way to promote the anti-racism message after the death in police custody of George Floyd in the United States last May sparked a rise in Black Lives Matter protests.