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Zaha refuses to take a knee before kick-off, becoming the first premier league player to do so

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Zaha had expressed his intention not to participate in the pre-match ritual when he returned from injury, instead pledging to ‘stand tall’.

And he was as good as his word, releasing further clarification via his management company Rocnation immediately after kick-off at Selhurst Park.

He said: “My decision to stand at kick-off has been public knowledge for a couple of weeks now.

The Crystal Palace forward made a record by becoming the first Premier League player this season to stand instead of taking a knee as the protocol dictates.

The Palace forward had described the knee-taking gesture as “degrading” and told the football authorities to do more in the fight against racism. Instead of taking a knee, the forward lived by his word. He had promised before the match that he was going to “stand tall.”

While speaking to the Financial Times’ Busines of Football summit, Zaha explained why he felt the act of taking the knee is degrading. He said:

“Growing up my parents just let me know that I should be proud to be black no matter what and I feel like we should just stand tall.
“I feel like taking the knee now, it’s becoming – we do it before games and even sometimes people forget that we have to do it before games.
“Trying to get the meaning behind it, it’s becoming something that we just do now and that’s not enough for me. I’m not going to take the knee.
“We’re isolating ourselves, we’re trying to say that we’re equal but we’re isolating ourselves with these things that aren’t even working anyway, so that’s my stand on it.”
He added that he would no longer wear the Black Lives Matter slogan shirt, saying ‘it feels like it’s a target’.

Zaha also promised not to wear the Black Lives Matter slogan shirt as it makes him feel like a target.

He also made it clear that he will continue to stand tall and will never kneel.

By Saaka Yakubu Issah

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