(Reuters) -Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso has stopped taking the knee before matches this season because the anti-racism gesture is “losing a bit of strength”, the 30-year-old said.
Players and staff have been taking a knee prior to kickoff since the league returned to action in June last year to show their support in the fight against racism.
Alonso said he has decided to stand while other players kneel and will instead point to the “No Room For Racism” badge on the sleeve of his kit to highlight the issue.
“I prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody,” Alonso said after Sunday’s 3-0 Premier League win https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/chelsea-crush-tottenham-go-joint-top-2021-09-19 at Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think it’s losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way.”
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he trusted Alonso to be “1,000% absolutely committed against racism” and agreed that the gesture of taking the knee had become routine and lacked the effect it first had.
“Isn’t it always like this? Once you do a gesture, then everybody is doing it. Once you do it so often it becomes normal and maybe it lowers the effect of it,” Tuchel told reporters on Tuesday.
“Maybe it takes sometimes an action against the routine to wake up again and have another good discussion, which can go only in one direction, because all of us have the same point — to stand up against (racism).”
Chelsea are joint top of the standings after five matches. They host Aston Villa in Wednesday’s League Cup match.
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates and Christian Radnedge)