- Premier League footballers continue to take a knee before match kick-off
- Gestures were introduced with Project Restart, but 2021-22. remained till
- Wilfried Zaha and Ivan Toni are the two players who have taken the plunge
- Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso agrees but insists he still wants to be ‘totally supportive’
Marcos Alonso believes the anti-racist act of taking a knee is in danger of losing his influence and the Chelsea defender has broken his silence over his refusal to perform the pre-match ritual.
Prior to the season, players agreed to continue the protest – started during Project Restart – in the ongoing fight against racism. But Alonso is among the few players who have stopped taking a knee before kick-off, with Wilfried Zaha and Ivan Toni standing by.
Zaha called the act ‘disgraceful’ earlier this year and Tony said the players were being ‘used as puppets’ when asked to take a knee.
Marcos Alonso prefers to point to the No Room for Racism badge on his shirt instead of kneeling
The gesture as the Premier League’s anti-racism move continues into the 2021-22 season
Alonso said: ‘I am completely against racism and all forms of discrimination. I just like to put my finger on the badge where it doesn’t say racism, like they do in other sports and football in other countries.
‘Maybe it’s losing a little strength the other way around, so I like to do it that way and to show that I’m totally supportive.’
Alonso believes none of his teammates have a problem with the decision, adding: ‘We haven’t talked about it. We are like a family.
‘I have a very good relationship with everyone. If I have to talk to someone, I will say what I told you and I don’t think there will be any problem.’
Wilfried Zaha is among top-flight stars who have dismissed the gesture as ‘disrespectful’
Alonso believes the gesture is losing its power as the Premier League continues to use it
Alonso has been instrumental for Chelsea during a stellar start to the season – they are joint top of the Premier League after five matches.
The Spaniard insisted that it is the strength in the team’s depth that makes them title contenders, adding: ‘There are so many games these days that I am sure we will all need them.
‘It’s going to be very tough this season and it will be difficult to stay there.’