Nottingham Forest star, Lyle Taylor has repeated his anti-Black Lives Matter stance, describing it as a “Marxist group” to LBC’s Nick Ferrari.
Taylor first came to prominence in January when he said categorically that he does not support Black Lives Matter, saying: “I would request anyone looks into Black Lives Matter to look into what that organisation does and what they stand for because it’s scandalous that the world and the world’s media has got behind Black Lives Matter.”
Now he has gone a step further, telling Ferrari, “enough was enough”. While insisting he still agrees with the message that “black lives do matter,” adding that injustice needs to be tackled.
“But,” emphasised Taylor, “we are hanging our hat on a Marxist group who are simply, they are looking to defund the police, they are looking to use societal unrest and racial unrest to push their own political agenda. And that’s not what black people are.
“We are not a token gesture or a thing to hang your movement on, just because it’s what’s powerful and what’s going on at the moment”.
Invited to explain whether the movement, which became mainstream in the UK after the death George Floyd in the United States in June 2020, had “power” and a “message” for him, Taylor went onto say: “It had a message at the beginning. The problem is when you look further than skin deep, when you begin to look at the people who run BLM, you look into the fact that we’ve got all these massive corporations looking into this group, you have to ask, ‘why? ’Why is that happening.’”
“And even now…we’re having them forced down our throats, still.”
His comments became even more uncomfortable for Premier League bosses who impulsively glued themselves to the BLM cause last season. The synonymous taking a knee gesture has since become de facto obligatory in England. On the Continent, players have less time for it.
Asked what he felt about other players, of all races who take the knee, Taylor said he felt “sorry for them”.
“Even if they knew and agreed with what I’m saying and what other black players are saying, they can’t not take the knee.
“A white player cannot stand there and say: ‘I’m not taking the knee.’”
They would be “branded racist,” he added before revealing he has been accused of racism himself .
Taylor’s significant intervention comes after the Telegraph reported, Crystal Palace players have decided to hold a meeting about ceasing to take a knee before matches. The club’s hierarchy are thought to want to avoid a “top down” decision.
The decision to gather the squad for a political discussion was triggered by star player Wilfried Zaha’s comments at the weekend, which mirrored Lyle’s comments on taking a knee, which the forward described as “degrading”.
“I think the meaning behind the whole thing is becoming something that we just do now,” said Zaha on a podcast over the weekend.
“I think we should just stand tall and now I don’t really tend to speak on racism aspects because I’m not here just to tick boxes. Unless there’s change, don’t ask me about it. Unless action is going to happen I don’t want to hear about it.”
On the same day that Zaha’s comments were released, Championship side Brentford made a collective decision to stop taking a knee before matches.
However, anti-racism campaigners and unions say the posture is popular with footballers and want it to continue.
England manager Gareth Southgate does not share Zaha’s viewpoint on taking the knee, saying he still believes the gesture to be a “hugely powerful”.