We all know what happened, a pandemic started, and the world as we knew it, whatever that was, ended, and whatever this is, started.
Speculation as to to the shape of this new normal abounded and after the initial shock wave passed, football tentatively decided to play to empty stadiums and preserve some sense of business as usual.
Then the old world decided to throw a spanner into the works of the new with a global race riot. A high definition horror demanded justice. Media both old and new was, as usual, busy pulling the strings behind the scenes and this, in turn, mobilized a corporate response.
The dominos fell among the right-thinking decision-makers culminating in the primer league taking a stand against racism in general and American police brutality specifically. The global league after all, is no longer concerned only with the happenings on its host island, it needs to uphold the deeply held values of its international sponsors too.
And so we were greeted to the spectacle of players taking the knee to raise the, by now, more nebulous, racism in general cause. They did so in empty stadiums, and so nobody knows for sure how the crowd would of reacted. But we found out, in time. It’s divisive, in the very truest sense of the word. I had my two cents, but my central argument to the right-minded people was…..when do we stop doing it? do you want this to last forever? Do to want us to bring up race and pause for reflection and own our sins before every bloody match from now until the kingdom comes…
The answer is a resounding yes. The premier league and their global virtue-signaling sponsors had an opportunity to draw a line under the past 18 months. The stadiums are full again, Old Trafford was a magnificent riot of color evocative of cherished memories held by millions. And then, the sober, politicized moment, before a kick-off, again, and now forever, until we stop racism, worldwide. Our technology is warping our grieving process and its natural processes of forgiveness and eventual renewal, perpetuating grief gets us nowhere, just ask anyone in Northern Ireland, and that is exactly what is being foisted upon football right now.
When you live long enough you get to see the time in terms of decades not years, and the fine details of a story become part of a larger narrative, like stepping back from a big oil painting. For context Colin Capernack first took the Knee back in 2016, and influenced other black players to do so too. This he said was to protest Institutional Racism in the United States. The site of millionaire sports players kneeling to protest against the institutions or systems that got them there didn’t land well with many an American, for others, it was a noble and brave gesture. In the end, though, it was, as it was designed to be, divisive. Fast forward to Spring 2020 and the specter of Dereck Shavin taking an eerily similar posture except for this time between one of his knees and the ground was George Floyd’s neck. The delicious irony of this was perhaps lost on many people, but if it was up to say a comedian to point this out! he would not do so for fear of losing his career.
I recently heard adults on a national radio show casually assert that yes children should be wearing masks from now on in schools and adults on public transport. What the actual fuck are you talking about! Until when? Ireland is 91 percent vaccinated! they got vaccinated to get back to normal! until when? Premier League players are taking the knee, before every game! Until when? Until racism is defeated? this ideology that is getting stronger with every year of social media is at war with human prejudice and germs, as it gently delivers the new rules from high atop the moral high ground. The crowds are now clapping the knee before every game because they have been defeated, any gesture, from talking the knee to a minute’s silence is devalued to the point of absurdity if taken before every game, forevermore. I heard a black pundit openly say on a prominent football podcast if you boo the knee you are racist, it’s that simple, well guess what you won! It’s getting clapped now, because nobody is racist anymore. Three cheers.