Several politicians against footballers taking the knee
As a sign of respect for the BLM movement, the national team took the knee before the match kicked off. Many disapproved of the gesture arguing that the players should pay tribute to the victims of terrorism and show support for the police instead.
While the Tuesday night victory of France over Germany made French fans happy, the team s taking a knee before the match outraged many politicians.
Former member of the National Rally Jean Messiha wrote in the weekly Valeurs Actuelles that the move was nothing but a sign of surrender as this was the first time the French national team dropped to a knee before a match. Mr Messiha says this gesture reflects the growing ethnic and racial bias of the French team. He mentioned the many attacks France has had to endure, including the massacre in the Bataclan club in Paris in November 2015, after which, although there was a silent memorial, the footballers had never taken a knee for the victims of any terrorist attacks.
Le Français ne s agenouille pas !
Le Français ne se soumets pas !
Le Français ne s aplatît pas !
Début de l opération sur les RS.
Tweetez et RT avec :#DeboutLesBleus #BoycottEquipeDeFrance#FRAALL#ALLFRA
Notre équipe NATIONALE doit refléter notre fierté NATIONALE ! pic.twitter.com/Kgg6cm2gLh
— Jean MESSIHA (@JeanMessiha) June 15, 2021
According to Mr Messiha, the national team has humiliated France and the French people, and he will, therefore, boycott the match and watch something else instead.
So many people share Jean Messiha s opinion that a #BoycottLesBleus hashtag – with Les Bleus [the Blues] referring to the French national team – was trending on Twitter. Jordan Bardella, a leading member of the largest opposition party, also took to Twitter to find out whether the French footballers plan on taking the knee at the World Cup in Qatar next year to pay tribute to more than 6,500 immigrant workers who died while building the “stadiums of shame” [a reference to the deplorable conditions under which the labourers worked on the building and infrustructure].
Mettront-ils aussi un genou à terre l année prochaine lors de la coupe du monde au Qatar pour rendre hommage aux plus de 6500 ouvriers immigrés morts sur la construction des stades de la honte ? https://t.co/lggQWsPUuf
— Jordan Bardella (@J_Bardella) June 15, 2021
Another politician of the National Rally, Thierry Mariani believes BLM marks a tragedy that took place in the United States and insists on the neutrality of sports, arguing that this symbolic gesture is also politically charged.
Thierry Mariani sur le projet des Bleus de placer un genou à terre avant #FRAALL : “Black Lives Matter c est un drame, mais qui s est passé aux Etats-Unis (…) Je suis attaché à la neutralité du sport (…) Ces gestes symboliques ont aussi un message politique”#Europe1 pic.twitter.com/FhkbnEBnFC
— Europe 1 (@Europe1) June 15, 2021
It is not only the former and current members of the National Rally who oppose the display by the French team. Republican lawmaker Eric Ciotti finds it unacceptable that footballers on the national squad take the knee for the BLM movement but failed to do so as a tribute to the victims of Islamic terrorists. The athletes could also signal their support for the police instead, Ciotti added.
L équipe de France ne peut mettre un genou à terre en hommage au mouvement politique américain Black Lives Matter alors qu elle ne l a pas fait pour les victimes du terrorisme islamiste ou les policiers assassinés par des barbares
Elle doit rappeler son soutien à notre police!
— Eric Ciotti (@ECiotti) June 15, 2021
Eric Ciotti agrees that everything must be done to combat racism, but taking the knee is not an acceptable gesture. He disapproves of the French football team supporting an American movement that tears down statues, aims to rewrite history, and pits communities against each other.
Oui il faut lutter contre le racisme de toutes nos forces mais pas en mettant un genou à terre !
— Eric Ciotti (@ECiotti) June 15, 2021