England stars came out in force in an unprecedented move today to join with NFL players, in a show of support to LeBron James and Steph Curry, who refused to take a knee during the national anthem. The supporters of James, Curry and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the movement in the NFL last year, say it is their way of calling attention to racial injustice.
And the players, despite negative headlines to the contrary, insist that the decision is not a political statement. It’s a way of living an authentic life, some say.
But the issue is not exclusively American. England’s players apparently don’t see it that way either. So much so that in response to the England team’s actions, English football writer Justin Tuggle tweeted: “That sounds like a political statement from English fans.”
Back home, the idea that a country that has produced the likes of Dixie Dean, Alf Ramsey and Jack Charlton would sit back idly in the face of “the oppression of black men” outraged some.
Others took offense to the union flag being burnt. Danny Daniels, the editor of the Daily Express, tweeted a screenshot of one such tweet.
The English players involved seem unfazed by the backlash, however. While defending their actions, they argued that the true source of the country’s problems lies inside the headlines rather than outside of them.