In what may very well be a race to the bottom (or to wokeness, take your pick), two traditional Western powerhouses had a curious moment before playing each other in the World Cup on Friday.
Longtime historic rivals the United States and England squared off in World Cup group play on Friday, but before the game started, the England players all simultaneously got a case of the weak knees.
Here’s the scene many American fans who seldom watch soccer outside of the World Cup tuned in to see before the kickoff with England:
England vs USA
England take the knee as we get underway in Qatar!
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) November 25, 2022
As you can see in the above Twitter post, England’s soccer players all took a brief knee right before kickoff to symbolize their protest.
It’s a jarring juxtaposition with the Team U.S.A., who were all standing before the game began. Given that many credit, or blame, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick with the proliferation of national anthem protests in sports, it’s surprising to see America not adopt their favorite sports martyr’s mannerisms.
To be clear, England was not protesting a national anthem or anything of that sort. Though, given what happened in 1776, it would be tough to blame the English for sitting and eating popcorn during the recital of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
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No, this is England’s harmless, and toothless, way of scoring woke brownie points, apparently.
England’s manager Gareth Southgate has made no secret of his team’s desire to virtue signal before the games.
Here’s Southgate openly defying FIFA and Qatar — the World Cup’s host country — and the given mandates that players should avoid discussing anything outside of the immediate realm of soccer:
“So regarding the LGBT community, we stand for inclusivity, and we’re very, very strong on what we think,” Southland said. “We think that’s important in terms of all our supporters, and we understand the challenges that this tournament brings within that.”
And here’s Southland again, this time explicitly stating his intent to have his team kneel in protest:
“We have discussed taking the knee, we feel we should,” Southland said. “It’s what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.”
Southland also opened up that this practice is common for big Premiere League games and noted that games don’t get any bigger than the World Cup.
“We think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular to see that inclusivity is important.”
It’s not clear where some critics are calling this move in support of Black Lives Matter (unless we’re officially tacking on BLM to LGBT), but given how much of a blanket term “inclusivity” is when wielded by the left, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that England was kneeling for Black Lives Matter, too.
Funnily enough, since neither Qatar nor FIFA want anything to do with this woke virtue signalling, World Cup officials basically just ignore England and proceed to begin the game. There’s no time for their protest to linger or sink in. The game just … begins.
As far as what happened after kickoff, Team U.S.A. valiantly fought England to a 0-0 draw. While most American soccer fans were happy enough to be in control of their future (America simply needs to beat Iran to advance to the next round), English soccer fans took a decidedly less enthused approach to tying with a massive underdog:
FT: England 0-0 USA.
— First Edition (@FirstEdition) November 25, 2022
Look on the bright side England fans: At least your team spent their final moments before kickoff focused on soccer, their gameplan, and the little details they needed to execute perfectly.