Barnsley FC striker Devante Cole on why he does not take the knee

BARNSLEY striker Devante Cole has explained his reasoning as to why he chooses not to take the knee.

BARNSLEY striker Devante Cole has explained his reasoning as to why he chooses not to take the knee.

Since June 2020, players, officials and staff at Premier League and EFL games across the vast majority of clubs have been taking a knee before kick-off to show support for the movement for racial equality.

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But last season, Crystal Palace player Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player who elected to not take the knee because he believed the protest was no longer enough.

Devante Cole. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC

In February, players at Brentford also released a statement saying that they would also not take the knee.

The decision has since been reversed, but Ivan Toney - a former Reds loanee - said he would continue to stand before kick-off to games.

Players at some other clubs also elected to stop taking the knee last season, including Middlesbrough, with former captain Britt Assombalonga arguing it was time for “action instead of empty statements”.

QPR players also elected not to take the knee, with director of football Les Ferdinand arguing that the gesture had become little more than a gimmick in the fight against racial inequality and discrimination in his opinion.

On his own position, Cole said: “It is just my personal preference that taking the knee has kind of lost its message for me.

"It is my personal preference that I have chosen to stand and I have done that for the last three or four months going into last season.

“I cannot talk for other teams, but can talk for me personally. It has lost its message for me.

“Everyone respects each other in the changing room (at Barnsley) and if you have your own choice or reference, they are more than happy for you to go and do that.”

On what more can be done in his view to address deep-rooted inequality in football, he continued: “I think we could be here all day talking about that, really.

“A lot more could be done, really.”