Posted by Roger Mallett Posted on 26 November 2022

Rainbow armbands, taking the knee – spare us sports fans from this sickening wokery

SO FIFA has finally got something right. I refer not to the peculiar ‘I feel gay, disabled . . . like a woman too’ remarks of its president, Gianni Infantino, but to the announcement that any captains wearing ‘OneLove’ rainbow armbands would be yellow-carded. This led to a complete cave-in by those captains planning to wear them, including England’s Harry Kane for the England v Iran match.

Full marks to the former editor of the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie, in calling it out on GB News, especially when he said that at least 65 per cent of viewers would either have no interest in or actually oppose the armband being worn and stressed that there is more than one view on these issues amongst the public who actually pay the TV licence, much though the BBC pushes the line that only one view is permitted.

This was far from the end of the political theatre surrounding the England World Cup team as spectators and viewers then still had to endure the excruciating spectacle of their ‘taking the knee’, the highly charged political gesture which came to the fore during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, and which they have continued to persist with for more than two years, although so far no other side has declared they will do likewise.

The manager, Gareth Southgate, may say it is a strong statement about ‘inclusivity’ but a very clear majority of those who follow either the team or the sport generally feel very differently – that it is importing American identity politics into British sport, indeed that it actually demeans us. Many of us, whether followers of the sport or not, are utterly sick of it.

Anyone voicing these types of objections receives the usual vilification, including being childishly tagged as a racist and a homophobe etc. I beg to differ, though no one in the FA, the Premier League or their broadcasters seems to get it, or more likely is wilfully blind to it, when it comes to booing or disapproving of ‘taking the knee’.

The fact is that people want to be left in peace to enjoy their sport. They watch it to be entertained, support their respective teams and maybe enjoy a bit of escapism from the trials of their daily life. And they want to do that without having moralising lectures and political slogans being thrust down their throats every five minutes.

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