Lions to leave taking the knee to the players

The British & Irish Lions players will reportedly be left to decide for themselves as to whether they take the knee in support of Black Lives Matter during the upcoming tour of South Africa.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the Lions discussed the gesture – a form of protest against police brutality and racism – in the buildup to their farewell match against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The outcome is that the squad has agreed that players will be allowed a personal decision as to continue to take the knee or not, depending on how they see fit.

For Saturday’s match against Japan, players will be able to kneel during the national anthems, when an anti-discrimination message will be read over the public address. It has not been confirmed whether this process will continue on the tour of South Africa, when the host country will be in charge of stadium operations.

The Springboks themselves have their own programme against racism, which director of rugby Rassie Erasmus explained when asked last month about his players taking the knee.

“We have our own programme called Radar since 2019, which is against racism, our own programme which we initiated long before the other debates started in the world,” Erasmus explained.

“We are happy with the route we are going and how our team is experiencing it, how we are aligned and where we are trying to get with it, so we will stick with our programme on that.”


Photo: NIALL CARSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Dylan Jack