Footballer Lyle Taylor says BLM is 'Marxist' and that he will no longer take the knee

19 February 2021, 10:56 | Updated: 19 February 2021, 11:34

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Nottingham Forest footballer Lyle Taylor has told LBC that he will no longer be taking the knee before matches, branding Black Lives Matter a “Marxist group”.

Taylor’s comments come after Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha also said he would not take the knee, insisting the protest is no longer sufficient.

Players, officials and staff at Premier League and EFL games have been performing the gesture prior to kick-off since last summer in support for the movement for racial equality.

READ MORE: Home Secretary Priti Patel: I wouldn't take the knee

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Taylor told LBC’s Nick Ferrari: “I took the decision because I felt that enough was enough... not enough people have looked into the organisation that has brough this all to the fore.

“I said before that I agree with the message that black lives do matter and something needs to be done about that to actually teach the message that the racial inequality and the societal injustice needs to stop.

“But by the same token we are hanging our hat on a Marxist group who are... looking to defund the police, they’re looking to use societal unrest and racial unrest to push their own political agenda and that’s not what black people are, we’re not a token gesture or a thing to hang your movement on just because it’s what’s powerful and it’s what’s going on at the moment.”

Taylor added that he feels sorry for white players because they cannot take the knee without being “branded racist”.

He said he had also been “branded racist” and “racially abused” by black people for refusing to take the knee in the past.

Premier League clubs' shirts also carried the Black Lives Matter slogan during the restarted 2019-20 season before being changed for this season to feature a patch promoting the league's own anti-discrimination campaign No Room For Racism.

However, racist abuse of footballers on social media has been prevalent in recent weeks and several teams, including Brentford last weekend, have stopped taking the knee before games.

Zaha reiterated his belief that taking the knee before matches is "degrading" and insisted that on the subject of racism: "Unless action is going to happen, don't speak to me about it."

Speaking at Thursday's Financial Times' Business of Football summit, Zaha said: "It's becoming something that we just do now and that's not enough for me. I'm not going to take the knee, I'm not going to wear Black Lives Matter on the back of my shirt because it feels like it's a target.

"We're isolating ourselves, we're trying to say that we're equal but we're isolating ourselves with these things that aren't even working anyway, so that's my stand on it.

“I feel like we should stand tall.”