Despite the disappearance of cameras at Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and around the world, the movement is still here. Versus writer Corey Pellatt was due to interview Harry Kane last month, but two of his questions about Black Lives Matter were blocked.
“We saw England players take a knee over the international break. How did the squad come to that decision, and as captain, how important was that moment for you?”
“Have you felt players becoming more comfortable when speaking about these issues? It seems to be that case. I can’t imagine football – at large – would be having this discussion 5 or 10 years ago…”
Corey said censorship of his questions was rare but it was telling that these two questions were “crossed out with a red line with no explanation given.” He pushed back claiming that Harry’s position as England captain “made his voice count”.
I said that England players had just taken a knee one day earlier. Why wouldn’t Harry want a chance to speak about what a positive step that was and what it meant to the entire squad?
He subsequently cancelled the interview. It wasn’t explicitly said whether Kane personally rejected them or his team did on his behalf. But people with privilege and platforms should use them to talk about these sorts of things, especially when they affect their Black colleagues.
I was disappointed in the response to BLM from Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Thiem on Instagram on Blackout Tuesday. A few words and emojis between them wasn’t enough and there should have been more when their Black counterparts on both tours had said—and done—much more. The same can be said for Harry Kane in this particular instance.
Words can be cheap. But when we see Black players like Marcus Rashford, whose campaign to provide free meals for millions of children force the government’s hand, Wilfried Zaha, who gave free accommodation to NHS workers in London, and Raheem Sterling, who has vocally battled racism on and off the pitch, it’s up to everyone else to do the same if they’re serious about Black lives mattering.