England's footballers taking a knee at the Euros doesn’t turn Wembley into Westminster | Emma Kay

Booing players who take the knee points to a deeply rooted poison and problem within our country.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 5:38 pm
England and Scotland players take a knee ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London, Friday June 18, 2021. Picture by Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
England and Scotland players take a knee ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium, London, Friday June 18, 2021. Picture by Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Taking the knee is a symbolic and personal act.

Belligerent boo-ers may brawl and bray over ‘political baggage’ being brought to their precious pitch but they fail to see that football has always been political. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s very a prominent part of our heritage and culture. If you truly believe that football will stay firmly wedged under a rock of odious outdated principles, then I feel sorry for you.

Everything changes alongside us and with us. Nothing is immune to time. No matter how much you cry and shout against progress. The political gesture of taking the knee does not make football any less ‘football’. It does not transform green grass and open goals into Westminster Live. It does not steal away time from the main event. It is simply a mechanism of peacefully protesting against the very real daily discrimination, injustice and inequality. It is entirely laudable and here to stay. Booing such an honourable act that addresses the right of equal opportunities to everyone regardless of skin colour or origin and provide the legal, moral and political equality that we all entitled to is shocking.

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What impact does it have on the players who get booed on the pitch before the match even starts? Care for the players should be just as paramount as caring for the fans. Condemning the reactions should have been swift but the backing up of the boo-ers is an unsavoury reminder we still have a way to go.

We tire of the excuses too. That apparently booing players for taking the knee is ‘not racist’ and simply coded shrieks of ‘anti-wokism’ and combating ‘political correctness gone mad.’ A senior politician refused to condemn fans who booed the players, instead stating that the booing was a ‘choice for them’ adding that calling those who booed racist is ‘unfairly attributing views to people that have been part of a movement – football – that has taken huge strides to reduce racism.’

This superficial analysis is akin to nothing more than a flimsy shield blanketing booing fans because they are part of the ‘football movement.’ The implication being, how can boo-ers be racist if they go to a football match as they clearly support the football movement which is NOT racist. Therefore such action was a simple ‘choice’ in the name of football.

Not true. Those who boo players who take the knee made that decision as individuals. They decided this was acceptable and is okay. They don’t deserve to be recognised as being part of the ‘football movement’ as collectively, they are an embarrassment to football.

Delivery drivers

The UK’s Brexit exit is putting severe strain on our shopping basket costs.

The Road Haulage Association says that nationwide, the UK has lost 15,000 drivers since Brexit.

Foreign nationals from our European cousins, now made to return home, made up a large quantity of our delivery drivers. During the height of Covid, we saw truck drivers being rightfully hailed as national heroes as they kept our country afloat during its darkest hour. Now the industry is teetering over the cliff.

Fresh produce is being squandered because of the shortfalls. Fruit, vegetables, milk and cheese have to be tossed into landfills, a chronic waste for an increasingly chronic crisis.

By autumn is it inevitable we will see a shortage of everyday products on our shelves. The consumer costs will be colossal. The egg is on the government’s face to sort this problem out but it may already have been scrambled beyond repair.

More than sushi

It is good to see people mastering new food flavours. For instance, Japanese food is so much more than sushi, as nice as it is.

Sakura in Southsea has become a regular rota on our dining experience and is one of the few local Japanese eateries, such as Nara and Otaku.

And what is there not to love? Fabulously fluffy rice immersed in a bowl so large it looks like a porcelain crater. Snippets of beef, pork and chicken all swimming in dark soy sauce accompanied by shavings of carrot and buttery egg.

Despite my best attempts to be culturally woke, chopsticks are forever a challenge and I always reach for the more forgiving spoon to scoop as much into my mouth as humanly possible.

Crispy pumpkin croquettes and small parcels of sushi with seasoned beef cushioned in cucumber and mayonnaise. It’ll be a while before we tire of this tasty Japanese cuisine.