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Mings: Taking the knee is anti-racism opportunity that cant be wasted but Zaha decision must be respected

21-Mar-2021, 06:41 pm

Tyrone Mings Aston Villa 2020-21

Tyrone Mings says Premier League players should not throw away the ‘opportunity’ of taking the knee before matches and disagrees with those who say the practice has lost its impact.

Wilfried Zaha has become the first player to stop taking the knee before Premier League games, saying he found it “degrading” and wanted to see real action being taken against racism.

Mings welcomed Zaha’s contribution to the conversation about discrimination in football and wider society but says the pre-match routine is having a real impact.

Aston Villa and England defender Mings told Sky Sports: “If we’re completely honest, I haven’t heard one substantial argument as to why we should stop it. I’ve heard it’s lost its power and I think, who have you spoken to, to say that it’s lost its power?

“Because I completely understand that us as players and anyone who goes to Premier League matches can think that this is becoming monotonous, or we’ve done it for a long time now, or it’s not as impactful as it was at the start.

“I completely get that and I had to ask myself the same question, is it still having the desired impact? It was only by speaking to people out in the field and out into society that I really got the feel of the size and importance of what we’re doing.”

Mings says Zaha’s own stance must be respected but he feels the chance to keep the anti-racism message in the public eye before every match is one which shouldn’t be squandered.

“Obviously Zaha has come out as the first player to stop doing it and any person who has a passionate stance on what we’re doing at the moment should be respected.

“For Zaha to be the first person to come out and be so passionateabout not doing it, that he is happy to stand out there on his own as a black man and not take the knee, they are the sort of conversations that we should be encouraging.

“What are his reasons? If he doesn’t feel it’s having the impact, if he doesn’t feel he’s being respected by doing it, then they are conversations we need to have.

“The only thing I would say to that is that we have never had this opportunity as a group of black players. Look at players that have come before us. Never would they have had the opportunity for the Premier League to get behind them so strongly and so passionately to back their anti-racism message.

“I think that is something so powerful and we shouldn’t be getting away from that any time soon.”

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