PATRICE Evra chose not to wear a Black Lives Matter badge on Sky Sports when footie returned two weeks ago.
The ex-France star and his co-hosts Jamie Redknapp, Gary Neville and Kelly Cates all ditched the badges during coverage of last night’s game between Brighton and Manchester United – but for Evra, it wasn’t the first time.
Patrice Evra without a Black Lives Matter badge on June 19
Roy Keane, Evra’s fellow pundit for the game, did wear a Black Lives Matter badge
Evra has appeared as a pundit on Sky twice since the Premier League returned – during United’s win last night and their opening game of the restart against Tottenham Hotspur on June 19.
He did not wear a Black Lives Matter badge during the coverage of either game.
His fellow pundit Roy Keane did wear a Black Lives Matter badge on June 19 despite Evra choosing not to.
Evra reportedly led the move to drop the badges last night with Redknapp and Cates following suit.
The Black Lives Matter movement was thrust into the spotlight after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
A video of his killing showing a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he gasped “I can’t breathe” went viral and sparked worldwide protests.
The movement has since come under scrutiny after Black Lives Matter UK shared a series of controversial tweets about Israel.
Evra shared a passionate video to Twitter last month as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum.
“Nobody is born a racist. We are all human beings. Hate is taught. It’s an education problem,” Evra tweeted on June 8, while also using the hashtag “BlackLivesMatter”.
The Sun Online has contacted Evra’s representatives for comment.
Since the Premier League returned after lockdown on June 17, players have knelt before kickoff and had ‘Black Lives Matter’ patches on their sleeves.
It now appears the badges have been dropped by Sky Sports pundits after a series of tweets by the UK branch of Black Lives Matter – which criticised Israel and called on the government to “defund the police”.
But Sky Sports said pundits and hosts were able to make their own decisions about wearing Black Lives Matter badges.
A spokesperson for Sky Sports told The Sun Online: “Sky’s support is for the moral cause and campaign, that black lives matter, rather than for any political organisation.
“Our presenters and analysts on-screen are free to make their own choice as to whether they wear supportive badges or not.”
Jamie Redknapp did not wear the Black Lives Matter badge last night
Evra also ditched the badge during last night’s coverage
Patrice Evra shared this tweet about Black Lives Matter on June 8
Matt Le Tissier, meanwhile, will keep wearing a Black Lives Matter badge on TV after criticising the movement’s “far-left” calls to defund the police.
He had questioned if he should sport the item as he doesn’t support the group’s anti-capitalist views, but decided to keep the pin on to fight racism.
The 51-year-old pundit said yesterday: “I just don’t agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti capitalist points are things I do not agree with.
“They are the two main points for me. I am quite happy for them to have their point of view, but that is mine and that is where I sit.
“I think a lot of people in the country would agree with me.
“I will still wear the badge because I do of course believe black lives matter. It’s a simple thing.
“I agree with the cause but there are parts of the organisation that I just cannot support.”
The Premier League now appear to have distanced themselves from the movement.
Yesterday it said it recognised “the importance of the message that black lives matter” but said it “does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity”.
It is now being discussed by several players, with a group of captains considering whether to make a public statement, Sportsmail reported.
On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK wrote a series of Tweets over Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed “mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism”.
The next day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called it a “shame” that the movement was getting “tangled up with these organisational issues” and said calls to defund the police were “nonsense”.
Black Lives Matter UK hit back by tweeting that “as a public prosecutor, Sir Keir Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit”.
Black Lives Matter’s adoption of the slogan “defund the police” in particular has caused controversy over the aim to “dismantle capitalism”.
One of BLM’s biggest demands is that police forces are disbanded and their funds redirected into youth and mental health services.
A Gofundme page run by the group, which has so far raised more than £1million, says some of the money will be spent on “strategies for the abolition of police”.
BLM has been criticised for appearing to allow Socialist Workers Party linked members to “hijack” the movement with aims other than racial equality.
But while both groups have been vocal about sharing the desire to dismantle capitalism, BLM recently released a statement distancing itself from the SWP.
Since the Premier League started up again, all 20 clubs agreed to wear Black Lives Matter patches and guests appearing on Sky have worn badges.
Player and officials have also taken a knee before matches – a gesture started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick when he knelt during the US national anthem to protest police brutality and racism in 2016.
Premier League players have been taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter – like Marcus Rashford here for Manchester United last night
Premier League players have been taking a knee since football returned from lockdown
The Premier League stands alongside players, clubs, The FA, EFL, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and all those who have come together in recent weeks to reject racism and to show support for the message that black lives matter. These three words have become an expression of unity for people from all communities who believe it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else.
In an unprecedented move, Premier League players from all 20 clubs united in solidarity with this message and the Premier League supported their request to replace their names on the back of playing shirts with ‘Black Lives Matter’.
The Premier League offered this backing as we wholly agree with the players’ single objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists. And we are unequivocal in the belief that there is no room for racism in our competition, football as a whole, or the wider community. Together, all professional football bodies and the players and managers recognise the importance of the message that black lives matter. However, we do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.
We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views. These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice. We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together.
As the players have made clear, we will all continue to work to promote equality of opportunity – regardless of colour or creed – and celebrate the advantages of diversity wherever we can.
The Premier League believes there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere #NoRoomforRacism.