Marcos Alonso: Chelsea defender to stop taking knee after claiming anti-racism gesture is 'losing strength'
20 September 2021, 22:11 | Updated: 21 September 2021, 06:52
Marcos Alonso says he will no longer take a knee before matches as the Chelsea defender believes the anti-racism gesture is "losing strength".
The Spain left-back says he will instead point to the Premier League 'No Room for Racism' badge on his sleeve, while other players kneel ahead of kick-off.
Since the Premier League resumed in the summer of 2020 after a coronavirus-enforced break, players, officials and staff at games have been taking a knee before kick-off to show support for the movement for racial equality.
"I am fully against racism and I'm against every type of discrimination, and 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 said.
"I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody."
Asked whether or not his decision to stop taking the knee had anything to do with politics, Alonso said: "I don't know, I just prefer to do it this way. It's my way to do it, I think it's another way.
"And maybe I think it's losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism."
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first top-flight player to opt out of the gesture, earlier this year, after stating his belief that taking a knee is "degrading".
Alonso, who was speaking to the media following Chelsea's victory over Tottenham on Sunday, said he had not discussed his decision with any of his Chelsea team-mates, several of whom have been victims of racial abuse.
Reece James, Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku have all faced abuse in recent years, with England defender James temporarily deleting his Instagram account earlier this year due to the scale of online abuse.
"No, we haven't talked about it," Alonso said.
"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 confirmed he intends to maintain his stance for the rest of the season, adding: "Yeah, for now I prefer to point to the sleeve and that's what I will do."
The 30-year-old, who had fallen out of favour at Chelsea under Frank Lampard before Thomas Tuchel's arrival last season, has made a strong start to the 2021/22 campaign, starting all five Premier League games ahead of England defender Ben Chilwell.
The high regard in which Tuchel holds Alonso was highlighted by the former Bolton and Sunderland defender being given the captain's armband as Chelsea beat Aston Villa earlier this month.
Sunday's 3-0 win at Spurs maintained the European champions' unbeaten start to the season, during which they have claimed four wins and a draw from a tough opening schedule.
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