Taking the knee at Euro 2020 is not ‘Marxist’ – it’s about ending inequality

Many were baffled when England players were booed during their friendly against Romania leading manager Gareth Southgate to write a letter to fans

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Fans are back for the cricket – 18,000 at Edgbaston for the Second Test and very nice to see them it was too.

In particular, one bloke in a Boris Johnson mask with a pint in one hand and a giant inflatable syringe in the other.

He did not spill a drop as he chased another grown man who, also clutching a pint, was dressed as a coronavirus.

The chase delighted the crowd until, in true English fashion, a steward broke it up. Lovely stuff.

The sight and sound of thousands getting gently drunk at the cricket even though the batting collapsed was a reminder of how sport can only come alive with supporters.

What is your view? Have your say in the comment section

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I watched a lot of sport through this lockdown – anything – and it is not the same without fans.

The crowd is not just a passive entity, except maybe at Arsenal, but a participant, creating an atmosphere, affecting the players.

Fans are back on Sunday afternoon for England’s opening game, which should be a joyous occasion.

We’re off and running in the first large-scale tournament (no disrespect to Estonia’s Baltic Cup triumph on Thursday) for over a year.

But even before we get going, there are worries.

Although stats show that most people in the UK support England players taking a knee, there is a minority that doesn’t, as evidenced by the booing at recent friendlies.

It provoked manager Gareth Southgate to write an article this week, saying his team will continue to take a knee as part of their work against racism.

There are some strange defences of jeering an anti-racist gesture, one being that it is somehow “Marxist”. But it’s not about Marxism. It’s about ending inequality.

Rashford does not want to defund the police.

Pickford is not a critic of the nuclear family.

None of the midfield worries about the creation of a false consciousness or dialectical materialism.

It would be helpful if the Prime Minister would come out and condemn those who boo. But he hasn’t and that means MPs like Lee Anderson, the member for Ashfield, have stepped in to fill the void.

He said: “For the first time I will not be watching my beloved England team while they are supporting a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our way of life.”

That’s unhelpful. No one is seeking to undermine anyone’s way of life.

The gesture is against racist behaviour, and the structural racism which has continued unchecked for generations. But because of Marxism, Mr Anderson is not watching. No idea what he’ll do instead.

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Maybe he can flick to BBC2 where Summer Holiday is on. Although Cliff and Melvyn Hayes getting hold of a bus is a bit too close to workers seizing the means of production for Mr Anderson’s liking.

The rest of us will watch the game and show respect for the team’s stance.

I hope so anyways. I can’t remember a tournament I’ve looked forward to so much and been so nervous about it.

A strange tournament, where England players and England fans eye each other across the touchline thinking the same thing: We believe in you. We can do this. Don’t let us down.

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