Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says defender Marcos Alonso strongly believes in the fight against racism even though he’s made a personal decision to stop taking the knee before football matches.
The 30-year-old Spain international refused to join his team-mates in taking the knee over the weekend when Chelsea played Tottenham.
He joined Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha as the only two Premier League players who have stopped taking the knee.
The Palace flyer said he thought the gesture was losing its relevance.
What has been said
“I am fully against racism and I’m against every type of discrimination," the defender said.
"I just prefer to put my finger on the badge where it says No To Racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries.
"I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody."
His manager Thomas Tuchel has defended his position.
He said: “The thing for me is I know Marcus personally and I trust him one thousand percent that he is absolutely committed against racism.”
Five facts about knee taking at a glance
- Taking the knee is a symbolic gesture against racism.
- Prior to the start of this season, players from all 20 Premier League teams decided to continue taking the knee.
- Only Wilfred Zaha (Crystal Palace) and now Marcos Alonso ( Chelsea) have opted out.
- It first came to prominent attention in the NFL (National Football League) when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the US national anthem.
- After the murder of George Floyd by a US police officer, Black Lives Matter protesters kneeled during protests as a unified, symbolic gesture against racism.
The gesture received a lot of attention during the 2020 Euros, when the England players chose to take the knee.
Before the tournament some fans booed the players during friendlies when they carried out the anti-racism gesture.
They claimed that they were booing as the footballers were taking part in a Marxist conspiracy, and showing their support for communism.
Home Secretary Priti Patel waded in, saying football fans have a right to boo the England team for “taking the knee” in protest at racism.
At the time, she said: “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture politics.”
After the Three Lions’ shoot-out loss to Italy, the three players who missed penalties - Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford - were all racially abused.
Central defender Tyrone Mings slammed the Tory minister, when she said she was “disgusted” at the racist abuse directed at the three young stars.
The Aston Villa captain said: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”