Black Lives Matter badges were again absent from Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage – with most guest pundits on Soccer Saturday instead choosing to support football-focused anti-racism charity Kick It Out.
Host Jeff Stelling and experts Clinton Morrison, Paul Merson and Matt Le Tissier all donned the other campaign’s badges just days after concern was raised over the Black Lives Matter movement’s ideology.
Glen Johnson opted not to support either campaign, however, after Sky allowed pundits to make their own decisions over whether to wear the emblems.
But for BT Sport’s broadcast of Norwich’s clash against Brighton during the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, every guest was wearing BLM badges.
Black Lives Matter badges were again absent from Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage
The pundits on Soccer Saturday had instead chosen to support the Kick It Out movement
But Rio Ferdinand (pictured), Robbie Savage and Steve Sidwell wore BLM badges on BT Sport
Norwich and Brighton’s players took the knee before their lunchtime kick-off on Saturday
Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Savage and Steve Sidwell joined Jake Humphrey for the programme and supported the BLM movement in a stark contrast to their peers on Sky Sports.
Footballers have also taken a knee to show solidarity with the movement before kick-off – and the players for the Norwich game were no different.
The stars lined up as usual before the first whistle and crouched to the ground, along with coaching staff and officials at the ground.
The symbol was adopted by US athletes to protest against police brutality and racism in 2016, and it has since been used in the BLM protests taking place around the world.
The Premier League has distanced itself from BLM, but players in top flight matches still sport ‘Black Lives Matter’ patches on their sleeves after George Floyd’s death in the United States in May.
Sky Sports presenters have worn the badges featuring the campaign’s slogan since the league returned after the coronavirus outbreak on June 17.
It appears that the Soccer Saturday team are the only guests to have decided to support Kick It Out instead, with other experts opting not to wear any badges at all.
Jamie Redknapp, Kelly Cates and Ashley Cole presented the pre-match coverage for Leicester’s clash against Crystal Palace, Arsenal’s trip to Wolves and Chelsea’s game with Watford without a BLM or Kick It Out badge.
But Roy Keane, Graeme Souness, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards were all pictured without the badges as they analysed top flight fixtures Manchester City v Liverpool and Sheffield United v Tottenham on Thursday night.
Redknapp hasn’t worn the emblem since Tuesday, and once again opted to ditch it when analysing the same games in the Sky Sports studio.
Host Jake Humphrey was among those to continue supporting the campaign on Saturday
Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane ditched the Black Lives Matter badge on air on Thursday night
Micah Richards also didn’t appear to wear a BLM badge during the night’s top flight coverage
Jamie Redknapp, who hasn’t worn the emblem since Tuesday, was seen without a BLM badge
Question marks were raised after a series of tweets was released by BLM which had criticised Israel and also called on the UK government to ‘defund the police’.
Premier League chiefs are not expected to ditch the BLM badge on shirts after making the distinction between the actual cause and the group itself.
The top flight has said that it recognises ‘the importance of the message that black lives matter’, without referring to the organisation’s name in upper case.
It also emphasised that it ‘does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.’
Kick It Out has expressed no political ideology, unlike the BLM movement.
The BBC have outright banned their pundits and guests from wearing BLM badges after the recent storm.
On Sunday’s Match of the Day both Alan Shearer and Richards weren’t wearing BLM badges
Former Manchester City star Richards had also been pictured not wearing the emblem on TV
A senior source at the corporation is quoted as telling the Daily Telegraph that bosses did not want ‘visual symbols of support’ for the movement to be worn on screen.
On Sunday’s Match of the Day highlight show, neither Alan Shearer or former Manchester City star Richards had donned the emblem.
The BBC source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The BBC cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign.
‘Therefore we wouldn’t want anyone on-screen to be wearing visual symbols of support. Our presenters and guests can discuss Black Lives Matter, and we’ve reported on it in depth.
‘We’re not impartial about racism. But wearing badges on screen – as with any other campaign – would be a step too far.’
Matt Le Tissier led the dissenting voices after the decision to allow pundits to wear the badges and revealed he had only done so after being asked to by bosses at Sky.
Matt Le Tissier revealed he had only worn the BLM badge after being told to by Sky bosses
Speaking outside his home near Southampton, he pointed out that he supported ‘the cause, not the organisation’ and added: ‘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.’
When asked whether Sky Sports pundits had been told to sport the emblem, Le Tissier laughed and said: ‘We were asked to wear it.’
Sky Sports News appeared to remain in support of the movement, however, after showing the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter before ad breaks on Wednesday July 1.
Sky Sports News appeared to still be backing the movement, carrying the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter before ad breaks yesterday