Les Ferdinand has defended QPR’s decision not to take the knee ahead of their match against Coventry, claiming the gesture’s “message has been lost” and is now akin to a “a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge”.
Friday night’s televised Championship fixture was the first live game where players did not kneel before kick-off, a move which had been adopted as support for the Black Lives Matter campaign when football resumed. QPR said in a statement on Monday the decision had been made jointly with Coventry and the match referee ahead of the game, and was not done “to suggest a lack of support for the Black Lives Matter movement”.
There were many other games across the divisions over the weekend where players did not make the gesture.
Director of Football Ferdinand said: “Taking the knee was very powerful, but we feel that impact has now been diluted.
“In the same way ‘Clap For Carers’ was very emotional for us all, it got to a stage where it had run its natural course and the decision was rightly made to stop it. “Does that mean we, as a nation, don’t care or appreciate our NHS workers? Of course it doesn’t.Les Ferdinand has defended QPR’s work on equality (Scott Heavey/PA)
“No one is more passionate than me about this topic. I have spoken on the matter throughout my footballing life.
“I work for one of the most diverse football clubs in this country. A lot of people are being fooled out there.”Former England forward Ferdinand also had spells at Newcastle, Tottenham, West Ham and Leicester before moving into coaching and then football administration with the Hoops.Players again took the knee ahead of Premier League games (Neil Hall/PA)
Ferdinand maintains more must be done in the fight against racism and inequality than simply offer “a nice soundbite when something happens”.
He highlighted the lack of resolution to a complaint made by QPR following the abandonment of a friendly between the club’s under-18s team and Spanish side AD Nervion in August 2019.“The taking of the knee has reached a point of ‘good PR’, but little more than that,” Ferdinand said.
“The message has been lost. It is now not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge.
“What are our plans with this? Will people be happy for players to take the knee for the next 10 years, but see no actual progress made?
“Taking the knee will not bring about change in the game – actions will.” READ MOREFabinho’s performance as defensive deputy gives Liverpool reasons to cheer