JERMAINE JENAS: Boo is more of a reason for England to continue on the knee… the whole point of fighting for equality is refusing to go back
It was so disappointing to hear some fans boo when the England players got on their knees, but it didn’t surprise me. In their minds, the knee has become too political. Believe me, the players don’t see it that way. The fans need to understand that.
If you are a player on that side of England you must have felt so disappointed. So misunderstood.
They have to ask themselves: aren’t you listening? I am one of your players. You have heard me explain that all I want to do is support inequality and end racism. I’m not doing this to be political. There’s nothing to worry about. If you hear and understand all that and still captivate, there must be racist elements in your actions.
Cheers from supporters is more of a reason for England to stay on their knees
This is so far removed from the politics of the Black Lives Matter organization, whatever that may be. It’s just about equality in the game. They do this for their friends who are being racially abused in games.
They do it for the monkey chants and the social media posts after the games. They do it to support each other, white and black. They are together for each other. Whether the team will stay on its knees after this is a tough question to answer. I can understand both sides.
I see the argument that says let’s not do it. Avoid further distractions. Make sure we don’t have to go into every press conference to answer questions about the boos. If the players decided to retire, I would understand.
If you are a player on that side of England you must have felt so let down, so misunderstood
But I would like to see the players stay on their knees. That booing is even more of a reason to do it. The whole point of fighting for equality is not flinching, refusing to back down. There are a lot of leaders in that locker room and I think they will feel a responsibility to stand up to those people. And where better to do that than at a big tournament?
I would also like to see the fans try to understand what the players are saying and get behind them. The pressure is so high for English players going to a big tournament. Any kind of negativity before a match affects the atmosphere. Jeering your own team gives a negative energy to the field. I want to see a positive energy. Set aside your feelings about the knee. Support the team and their decisions.
The whole point of fighting for equality is not to back down and to refuse to back down
Do you want your players with a negative mindset to go into a tournament-defining match? Imagine being Croatia, queuing up against England at Wembley and hearing the cheers from the home fans to their own players.
English supporters should illuminate that stadium. We need to make sure that all teams fear the cauldron of atmosphere and energy that fans can create.
We need to show Europe in a positive way what we stand for. We came together in response to the super competition. I want to see that same ghost here.