Celtic and Rangers players decided to stand instead of taking a knee Sunday during their Scottish Premier League match following allegations of racist remarks hurled toward Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara in his match in Thursday’s Europa League match against Slavia Prague.
The alleged racist incident occurred at the end of Rangers’ match against Slavia Prague. Kamara said Ondrej Kudela leaned into his ear and whispered something while putting his hand over his mouth. According to The Athletic, Kudela said “f—king monkey.” Kudela said he said “you f—king guy.”
UEFA, the administrative body responsible for the governance of soccer in Europe, said it was investigating the incident.
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Rangers’ Glen Kamara stands instead of taking a knee prior to the Scottish Premiership soccer match at Celtic Park, Glasgow, Sunday March 21, 2021. Glasgow’s rival soccer teams stood rather than taking a knee in a pre-match solidarity before the derby at Celtic after Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara faced racial abuse in a European match. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
But instead of taking a knee, which has been the norm in the U.S. to protest against racial injustice and police brutality, players on both sides of the pitch stood before the game.
“We won’t take the knee,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said before the match, via ESPN. “I spoke to both my captains [on Saturday] and they’ve made a collective decision that they’re going to stand and they’re going to stand together side by side and we’ll support that and follow suit as a staff as well.
“I wasn’t aware of the chat that the players have had among themselves, but [James Tavernier and Connor Goldson] have come to see me [on Saturday] and I totally understand the decision that they’ve made and I totally back it 100% and we’ll do the same as a staff to show them support.”
Celtic interim manager John Kenney said the team spoke to Rangers and agreed they wouldn’t do it.
RANGERS PLAYER ALLEGES ‘VILE RACIST ABUSE’ BY CZECH OPPONENT
Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard stands instead of taking a knee prior to the Scottish Premiership soccer match at Celtic Park, Glasgow, Sunday March 21, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)
“It’s probably lost its impact so we will hopefully send out a much stronger message if we stand together,” Kennedy said.
“Racism and any sort of hate in society but also in football is disgraceful. We want to give any support we can.”
Rangers center back Connor Goldson said Friday racism would “never get eradicated.
“It never will get eradicated because there are so many token gestures out there,” he said, via The Athletic. “Taking a knee — token gesture from the higher authorities to make it look like they are doing something to help.
“But they are not doing anything because when these things happen there is no consequence. There might be a fine but it’s never enough. You get fined more for showing an advertisement on your underwear more than you do for being racist or having a supporter that’s being racist. It will never change.”
Rangers and Celtic ended in a 1-1 draw.
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Rangers is the top team in the Scottish Premier League with 89 points. Celtic is in second with 69 points.