Palace say they support the principles behind black lives matter

Crystal Palace FC issue a statement insisting they proudly support the principles behind black lives matter but NOT the BLM pressure group or anyone hijacking the movement to ‘push their own political agenda’

  • Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park had banners supporting Black Lives Matter
  • The club have now come out with a statement in support of the message
  • They did hit out at those who used the term to ‘push their own political agenda’ 

Crystal Palace have backed the message of Black Lives Matter and criticised those who use the term to ‘push their own political agenda’. 

Banners at Palace’s Selhurst Park stadium covering the seats included one that read ‘Black Lives Matter’ and their players took a knee prior to kick-off in their game against Burnley earlier this week.

Now Palace have made it clear that they will continue to back the message, while casting doubt on those who have used it for other means.  

Crystal Palace FC have backed the message of Black Lives Matter in a statement

Andros Townsend taking the knee prior to kick-off in their game against Burnley this week

A statement on their site read: ‘As people will have seen from our first home game, we have placed banners over our seated areas at Selhurst Park that read: BLACK LIVES MATTER.

‘We stand proudly alongside members of the BAME community, our players and employees, and behind the ideals and ethos of “black lives matter”. 

‘However, we would like to make clear that we do not endorse any pressure group or body that carries the same term in its name, and we strongly believe that organisations should not use this important force for change and positivity to push their own political agendas.

‘We want to be part of a world that is fair, inclusive and open to all. 

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish (pictured with Susanna Reid at a game in 2018) 

‘As an organisation, we recognise that we need to do more, and we will do more to contribute towards this goal.’

A number of Sky Sports pundits chose not to wear Black Lives Matter badges on Tuesday night.

They included Patrice Evra, while BBC bosses banned pundits and hosts from wearing the symbol. Sky Sports’ hosts and pundits all wore the badge on Wednesday night.  

The UK arm of the organisation has come under criticism for their policy of defunding the police, their calls to end capitalism and their suggestion that ‘Zionist’ influence was stopping questions over Israel’s policy of annexing the West Bank. 

Palace defender Gary Cahill wearing a shirt with the Black Lives Matter logo on it on Tuesday

A number of pundits have discussed the issue in recent days after controversy over the UK arm of Black Lives Matter’s aims. 

Former Southampton player Matt Le Tissier, said he only wore the badge after being asked to do so by bosses at the broadcaster. 

Le Tissier, 51, criticised the group’s ‘far-left ideology’ and said he ‘could not support’ the cause’s anti-police and anti-capitalist aims. 

BT Sport pundit and Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton wrote on Thursday: ‘There is a difference between Black Lives Matter the message and Black Lives Matter the organisation.

‘One is about fighting for equality. The other’s UK wing has courted controversy by calling for police funding to be cut and an end to free trade with Israel. 

The message was also displayed on electronic screens around Selhurst Park on Tuesday

‘I’m not one for delving too deeply into politics but for me, that is not what Black Lives Matter has ever been about. This movement has always been about the powerful over-riding message it conveys – that the lives of black people matter as much as anyone’s.

‘That is why I supported the campaign in the first place and support it now. That is why players kneel before kick- off and wear badges on their shirt sleeves. That is why if I was in the TV studio today and was offered the option of wearing a BLM badge, I would do so. That’s my personal choice.’

MailOnline can also reveal the issue has been discussed by several players, with a group of top-flight captains considering whether to make a public statement on the matter.

While the players remain united in campaigning for equality and maintaining such symbolic gestures for the rest of the season, some are concerned about being associated with the political activism of BLM. 

Rio Ferdinand wearing a Black Lives Matter badge while doing punditry work on Wednesday 

The cause has been widely supported across football and the wider sporting world by TV and media stars, but that all changed on Sunday when BLM UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed that ‘mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism.’ 

The following day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has ‘taken the knee’ alongside parliamentary colleagues, called it a ‘shame’ that the sentiment behind the BLM protests was getting ‘tangled up with these organisational issues’ and said calls to defund the police were ‘nonsense.’

Players have continued taking the knee prior to kick-off in every match that has been played in the United Kingdom since the season restarted.

They have also worn ‘Black Lives Matter’ symbols on their shirts in every game, even though the Premier League itself has distanced itself from the organisation.

Ashley Cole and all other Sky Sports pundits also wore the badge during those games

The Premier League said it recognised ‘the importance of the message that black lives matter’ – without referring to the organisation’s name in upper case – but made clear that it ‘does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.’ But chiefs are not expected to ditch the BLM badge on shirts, having drawn a distinction between BLM’s cause and the group itself. 

Black Lives Matter UK – or @BLMUK on social media – is the British offshoot of its US counterpart, but the group’s leaders, who are largely anonymous, have been accused of using its financial muscle for a range of far-Left aims, and criticised for a lack of transparency with no formal governing structure and having never filed accounts. 

The group has said it intends to be ‘guided by a commitment to dismantle imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and the state structures that disproportionately harm black people in Britain and around the world’ – making it different to the US version, which does not cite ending capitalism as a policy goal.

Patrice Evra (right) ditched it and Jamie Redknapp (pictured left) followed suit on Tuesday

On Thursday, Sportsmail reported that Sky Sports have also drawn up a list of phrases they feel may offend – and are warning commentators not to use them.

Sportsmail understands that commentators and match reporters have been sent a number of emails with phrases which are deemed out of bounds, including one which told them not to say ‘nitty-gritty’ amid concerns over links to slavery.

The messages are part of an ongoing drive by the broadcaster to ensure that staff are aware of the origins of the language that they use while on air.

In the light of the recent issues raised by the killing of George Floyd in the United States and the increased focus on racism it generated, they have put on extra sessions with the Professional Footballers’ Association and Kick it Out.

The broadcaster has concentrated on language used, especially when discussing stories and issues concerning the Black Lives Matter movement.

However, the emails have not gone down well with some members of staff. One claimed that they now faced ‘a complete minefield’ while on air, adding: ‘There are phrases that most people would have absolutely no idea would cause offence and that, to be frank, I’d be amazed if people were offended by. It’s making what is already a difficult job harder and it feels unnecessary.

‘There are obvious things that should not be said and I think everyone believes that education on these issues needs to be improved, but this feels like we are tripping over ourselves.’ 

Pundits Jamie Redknapp (left, Tuesday) and Patrice Evra were not wearing Black Lives Matter badges when appearing on Tuesday night’s show on Sky Sports. But ten days ago Redknapp did wear the BLM pin on his suit (right)

Earlier this week, the PFA urged commentators to address their racial bias after a study revealed differences in how they describe players with different skin tones. 

Findings revealed on Tuesday, following the first study of its kind in football, showed that ‘deep-rooted racial stereotypes’ are promoted in commentary.

Players with lighter skin tone received significantly more praise for their intelligence, quality, work rate and versatility, while players with darker skin tones received at least 63 per cent of the criticism when it came to comments made about intelligence, quality and versatility.

The term ‘nitty-gritty’ is widely used and there is much debate over its origin. Some believe it originated as a term used by slave traders to refer to the detritus left after a slave ship was emptied, although this is disputed.

Last month, Dundee city council said it would review ‘slave traders’ language in council chambers, such as the phrase ‘nitty-gritty’.  

Sky Sports have told commentators about a series of prohibited words and phrases in an email 

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