Raheem Sterling and Gareth Southgate believe that England sent a powerful message when they took a knee during Euro 2020. The duo believes that the gesture can yet prove to be a strong gesture in the fight against racism. The English team had received criticism from certain quarters as they perceived the gesture as a political one. The team was met with boos when they took the knee in friendlies before the tournament.
“How us as a team took a stance, I think the big question was, ‘are we going to continue doing it through the Euros?’.” Raheem Sterling said about the decision by Gareth Southgate and the rest of the team. “And I think a lot of the time when the racism comes up or something has happened, a lot of the time in football and in the majority of society, we tend to address it for that period, for that five days or that week and then we brush it under the carpet and things are all fine now.”
“At the very least, this had to be a team where we were united on how we saw it and we could send a message to young kids watching that I think the lads maybe didn’t realize how powerful that would be going into a tournament because they wanted to concentrate on the football,” Southgate added. “They want to be judged primarily on the football but what Raheem has done, in this space, in particular. I remember you put the two articles out on how (Tosin) Adarabioyo had been reported on as a young player and a similar sort of story with Phil (Foden), and the difference, and it was clear the way those things had been reported.”