“I want UK companies to take action and for people to see what they are doing to support this cause. Until I see that on a regular basis and move forward, if I were an athlete right now, I would be hurting my knee. knee until I go to the grave ”
Michael Holding says he would be ‘hurting my knee until I go to my grave’ if I were still a jock, as he emphasized the importance of the gesture.
Michael Holding says he would be “hurting my knee to the grave” if I were still a sportsman and that the UK is not doing enough to combat racism.
Holding spoke on a special edition of The Cricket Show to commemorate a year since the murder of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minnesota by a white police officer.
The videos of Holding and his fellow Sky Sports expert, Ebony Rainford-Brent, went viral last summer when they spoke passionately about Floyd’s death, the racism they had seen and experienced, and the Black Lives Matter movement on the first day of the first test between England and the West Indies.
Former West Indies fast bowler Holding was a strong critic when England stopped kneeling later that summer and believes the gesture is still vital in trying to combat prejudice.
He said The cricket show: “I think everyone recognizes that the worldwide gesture to support Black Lives Matter and the whole cause is to kneel down.
“I don’t see why that is something that should be difficult for people to do. It is a global recognition: everyone knows what you are doing when you kneel.
“I saw a women’s soccer team in Sweden kneel before a match, I saw a young cricket team in Scotland kneel before a match, just to say that we are supporting this cause.
“I’m not going to tell people to kneel, I’m not here to tell people what to do. I don’t want people to take it as a tick-in-the-box exercise.”
“You have to want to support the cause, you have to be willing to understand and see that something is wrong and this is the accepted way around the world to show support for the cause.
“Why stop it? Unless you think we’ve made enough ground and we’re traveling in the right direction and we’re on the right track and we can move on after getting down on our knees.”
“But, at the moment, I don’t think we’ve made enough ground, especially in the UK. I’m going to be frank now. I don’t see enough action in the UK.”
“I see a lot of action in the US Big corporations in the US contribute millions and millions of dollars to programs to level the playing field.
“Aside from Sky, who are we seeing in the UK doing something? There is a bit of verbiage every now and then, but what really positive signs of action have we seen?
“People tell you ‘we’re doing this in the background.’ No. I go back to the old saying: justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.
“I want UK companies to come out and take action and for people to see what they are doing to support this cause. It takes a great deal of work to achieve this.
“Until I can see that on a regular basis, that action is taken and progress is made, if I were an athlete right now, I would be kneeling down, hurting my knee. I would hurt my knee until I went into the grave.” . “
Crystal Palace footballer Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player to choose not to kneel before matches earlier this year, saying: “There is no right or wrong decision, but for me personally I feel that Kneeling has become part of the pre-match routine and at the moment it doesn’t matter if we kneel or stand, some of us are still being abused. “
On Zaha’s decision, Holding, whose book Why We Kneel How We Rise, featuring contributions from Thierry Henry, Makhaya Ntini and Naomi Osaka, among others, is published next month, said: “I fully support Zaha’s position not to kneel down.
“I can understand him because he is saying that he is kneeling and there is no action, nothing else happens. He sees nothing but talking and is tired of kneeling.”
“I’m not thinking that everyone should be the same. Personally, I would never tire of kneeling, but I can understand your situation, you are sick of kneeling and seeing no action.
“My point of view is that anyone who doesn’t know about the cause, someone who comes from Mars and goes to a game, and sees everyone kneel, may wonder, ‘why are they doing that?’ Keep the consciousness going. “
On the England men’s cricket team that didn’t get down on their knees for the whole of last summer, Rainford-Brent said: “I’m somewhere in the middle in this.
“When it comes to cricket, I felt like we should have gotten down on our knees for the summer [but] it quickly parked.