FILE - West Indies great Michael Holding has praised England’s footballers for continuing to take a knee ahead of games to combat the scourge of racism. Photo: Simon Cooper/EMPICS Sport
FILE - West Indies great Michael Holding has praised England’s footballers for continuing to take a knee ahead of games to combat the scourge of racism. Photo: Simon Cooper/EMPICS Sport

Michael Holding praises England footballers' 'backbone' in taking a knee

By AFP Time of article published Jun 11, 2021

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ST LUCIA – West Indies great Michael Holding has praised the decision of England's footballers to continue taking a knee, saying they are doing more than their cricket counterparts to combat racism.

The former paceman last year called for meaningful change to tackle injustice, saying he had encountered abuse as a young player in England and Australia.

Holding, now a commentator, returned to the theme on Friday during the second day's play in the second Test between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston.

ALSO READ: ’There is no division at all’, says Lungi Ngidi after some Proteas didn’t take a knee

"The footballers, (manager) Gareth Southgate and the England team, I applaud them for what they're doing," he said.

"They are getting a lot of stick for taking the knee (in Euro 2020 warm-up games), they're getting booed, but they are showing some backbone.

"They're saying 'we're doing it because we know what we're doing – not for a political movement, we're doing it for humanitarian reasons'."

ALSO READ: Lungi Ngidi leads by example on and off the field for Proteas in first West Indies Test

England and New Zealand shared a "moment of unity" before Thursday's opening day of the second Test, but the 67-year-old Holding was unimpressed.

"I'm not going to talk about political movements," he said. "I care about the three words – Black Lives Matter.

"What this England (cricket) team is doing, this 'moment of unity', is not supporting Black Lives Matter. Don't tell me that's supporting Black Lives Matter."

ALSO READ: Fans booing players taking a knee shows racism still a problem, says Jordan Henderson

Holding, who has written a book "Why We Kneel, How We Rise", believes things are changing, albeit not as quickly as he would like.

"Progress is definitely being made but I'd love to have seen a lot more (being done) in this country (Britain)," he said.

"I want this country to take a firm grip on the situation but people are accepting things are wrong and we can move forward.

ALSO READ: Some Proteas kneel, some don’t in support of Black Lives Matter in first West Indies Test

"But I'm very disappointed with people saying Black Lives Matter is Marxist. They wouldn't even know what Marxism is or what it stood for – but they tell you that because they are trying to pull down Black Lives Matter."

AFP

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