No kneed: Chelsea star Alonso risks woke backlash as he explains decision to stop taking a knee, says he didn’t consult teammates

No kneed: Chelsea star Alonso risks woke backlash as he explains decision to stop taking a knee, says he didn’t consult teammates

Chelsea star Marcos Alonso will stop taking the knee after claiming that the anti-racism gesture is 'losing a bit of strength' while looking to other forms of protest.

The Spain left-back made his comments to the media following an impressive 3-0 win for Thomas Tuchel's men away at Spurs. 

"I am fully against racism and I'm against every type of discrimination," he began.

"[But] I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says No To Racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries."

Alonso didn't take the knee during Chelsea's game with Zenit last week. © Match TV

"I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody," went on Alonso, whose teammates such as Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante, Reece James and Romelu Lukaku have all recently experienced racist abuse. 

"No, we haven't talked about it," he confirmed, when asked if he had revealed his plans to his teammates.

"We are in the changing room and we are like a family. I have a very good relationship with everyone, I love everyone and up to now we haven't talked about it."

"I don't think there is a need to, but, of course, if I have to speak to anyone, I will say the same thing I just told you and I don't think there will be any problems," Alonso insisted.

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Several Zenit players joined Chelsea in taking the knee. © Reuters
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The taking of the knee has been a constant in English football since the Premier League resumed in mid-2020 following the Covid pandemic and the death of George Floyd.

Fans weren't allowed back into stadiums then, but England players were first met with boos at the Riverside Stadium for the gesture, which protests racial inequality, while preparing for Euro 2020 in June this year. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to condemn the boo boys, claiming that they didn't subscribe to "gesture politics".

And when a trio of England players were racially abused online for missing penalties in the tournament's final against Italy, Aston Villa defender Tyron Mings called Patel out for her supposed hypocrisy when she attempted to offer support to Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka. 

"You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labeling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens," he replied to her tweet that slammed the "vile" abuse.

Ahead of the ongoing 2021-22 Premier League season, players representing all 20 clubs vowed to continue taking the knee as "unity against all forms of racism".

Yet Alonso is not the first to stop performing the gesture.

Across London, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha said his fellow professionals "should stand tall" in the fight against racism and not take a "degrading" knee.

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Zaha decided not to perform the gesture before the game with West Brom. © Reuters
‘Respect to him’: Crystal Palace ace Zaha becomes first Premier League star NOT to take a knee after describing it as ‘degrading’


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