THE ENTIRE Ireland rugby team once again decided not to take a knee before their Six Nations clash with France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
During the “moment of reflection” preceding the game the Irish and France players remained standing.
According to the Irish Rugby Football Union, it has been the tradition in rugby to stand for a moment of silence as a mark of respect.
This mark of respect is used for example to thank frontline health workers, to remember those that have passed away, or to mark important historical events.
In other sports, like football, players have chosen to use the moment of reflection to take the knee in a show of support for the anti-racist Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
During England’s previous clash with Scotland at Twickenham, for example, many players opted to follow suit by taking a knee in support of BLM. Many others, however, chose not to.
While all of the teams involved in the Six Nations are opposed to racism, having signed up to the Rugby Against Racism initiative, players have the choice to stand (as is tradition) or kneel (if they wish to) during this moment of reflection.
In the case of Ireland vs France, they chose not to take a knee or kneel.
The decision not to kneel has gained support from several fans on Twitter.
“Well done to both teams,” one fan wrote.
“I will keep saying this. You stand UP (positive & affirming) to racism NOT kneel (submissive & negative). Well done to rugby for this stance,” another said.
Ireland v France
Not one knee taken in Dublin
Well done to both teams 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/jE029S3zsI
— MrFezziwig ⓘ 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 (@MrFezziwig5) February 14, 2021
The IRFU has defended the right of its players to choose how they wish to show their support for the sport’s anti-racism initiative.
“It is important that players are free to demonstrate their support for this important issue in the way they see fit,” they told the Irish Post.
“It is an entirely personal decision and we respect each players’ right to make that choice.”
“Irish Rugby and our players have been supporting anti-racism messaging for some time,” the IRFU continued.
“Ahead of the resumption of professional rugby, last year, rugby underlined its on-going commitment to offering a game for all, with messaging and support through #RugbyAgainstRacism across the returning Guinness PRO14, the Autumn Nations Cup, the 2020 Six Nations and now, again, before the 2021 Six Nations games.
“This united support against racism ensures that we stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone on this issue. The feedback on these moments has been very positive.”