Home News The Premier League Distances Itself From BLM

The Premier League Distances Itself From BLM

The Premier League has clarified it does not endorse political movements after they came under criticism for their support for Black Lives Matter. They said in a statement that they were “aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes to promote their own political views”.

The Premier League had in response to death of George Floyd, mandated that player’s names would be replaced with ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the back of the shirt, a Black Lives Matter emblem would be on the shirt and the players would also kneel prior to the start of every match. This was due to occur for every game until the end of the season.

However, Black Lives Matter’s UK branch has come under fire in recent days after further revelations of some of their more controversial views came to light.

In one particular tweet from the organisation sent out statement which referenced anti- Israel sentiment and has also been seen by some as anti- Semitic. BLM tweeted: “As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades. FREE PALESTINE.”

Credit: Brett Morrison
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Asides from being an overtly political statement, some have said that the references to the “gagging of politicians” alludes to the long standing trop of called the “protocols of the elders of zion”, an anti-Semitic theory which states that the Jews secretly control the world and its institutions including the media.

Other criticisms of the Black Lives Matter organisation include their desire to over through capitalism and defund the police.

In response to these claims the League said: “Black Lives Matter” had become an “expression of unity for people from all communities who believe it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else”.

“In an unprecedented move, Premier League players from all 20 clubs united in solidarity with this message and the Premier League supported their request to replace their names on the back of playing shirts with ‘Black Lives Matter.

“The Premier League offered this backing as we wholly agree with the players’ single objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists. And we are unequivocal in the belief that there is no room for racism in our competition, football as a whole, or the wider community.”

They explained that “professional football bodies and the players and managers recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter”.

Credit: Fibonacci Blue
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

They continued: “We do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.

“We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views.

“These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice. We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together.”

Credit: Станислав Ведмидь/Stanislav Vedmid’/Stanisław Wiedmid’
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Following this statement from the Premier League, some figures in the sports industry have questioned the wear of badges while some have gone as far as to stop wearing them. During the Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion coverage, several presenters were not wearing the Black Lives Matter badges that they had previously worn on the show. Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra along with host Kelly Cates and commentator Gary Neville all ditched the emblem for the game.

Former Southampton player turned Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier also commented he was reviewing his decision to wear a badge and continued that he only wore the crest because his Sky Sports bosses had asked him to. Gary Lineker also distanced himself from the group on Twitter.