Ipswich MP Tom Hunt: Linking arms ‘less divisive’ than taking the knee

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt hopes there will be more support for the hospitality sector if Suffolk ends up in Tier 2. Picture...

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Ipswich MP Tom Hunt has said he hopes football players will stand arm in arm to show their opposition to racism, instead of taking the knee - saying it is “less divisive”. 

Kneeling has become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign in recent weeks and months, with the gesture taken by referees and players before matches across the professional game. 

However, a national row broke out when fans at Millwall and Colchester United booed players for taking the knee at weekend games. 

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt is pleased to see an end to the national lockdown - but warned: 'This isn't the end of the struggle.'...

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Colchester United club owner Robbie Cowling condemned the “ridiculous actions” of those who booed the players, saying: “I will be happy to refund anyone for the remaining value of their season permit if that is the reason they feel they can no longer attend our games.” 

But supporters have said their booing was not motivated by racism, but strictly in opposition to the aims of the BLM organisation. 

Some BLM activists have called for the dismantling of capitalism and defunding the police. 

After Millwall said its players would link arms instead of taking the knee at future matches, Mr Hunt said on Twitter: “Sounds like a unifying gesture in the fight against racism as opposed to a show of solidarity to a deeply divisive organisation with a questionable set of aims and objectives.” 

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Expanding on his comment, Mr Hunt said he believes BLM “has become increasingly divisive” and that: “Taking the knee is a gesture synonymous with BLM the organisation and was initiated by them.” 

“I think if the aim is to show unity in the face of racism, then showing allegiance to such a divisive political organisation is hardly the way to go.” 

While he said he appreciated many players “have taken the knee have been doing so solely to demonstrate their opposition to racism and that they haven’t been aware of BLM’s wider political objectives”, he added: “However, many people will see the gesture differently and will understandably associate it not just with opposing racism but also as supporting BLM’s wider political objectives.” 

Mr Hunt said he was pleased to hear about the new arm linking gesture and said: “I think this is to be welcomed and that the vast majority of fans would get behind this.   

“I see linking arms before the match as being less divisive, more unifying and therefore more powerful in the fight against racism.” 

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