Andros Townsend has warned he and other Premier League players are ready to boycott matches to fight “social injustice” in the UK following the wave of action in US sport over the shooting of Jacob Blake.
The Crystal Palace and England midfielder said the country’s elite footballers would “take inspiration” from the forced postponement of basketball, baseball, ice hockey, football and tennis matches in America in protest at the latest shooting of a black man by police officers.
Asked whether he would be prepared to boycott a game over something he really believed in, Townsend told talkSPORT: “Of course. If it’s something that I really believed in, of course, then you have to. I think the blueprint for that is, I watch a lot of NBA and, recently, they boycotted two or three days of NBA action because of the social injustice in America.
“So, I think they’re kind of trailblazers in America, the way they do take a stand for what they believe in. And I think a lot of players in this country do watch American sports, whether it’s NBA, MLS or baseball or that stuff.
“So, I think we will kind of take inspiration from that and if there is a social injustice in this country, I’m sure we will collectively come together like we have during lockdown and take a stance and try and do good.”
Townsend was speaking after it was confirmed that England players would take the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement before the country’s Nations League matches in Iceland and Denmark in the next week.
The gesture was performed before Premier League games last season following the alleged murder of George Floyd by police and, as revealed by Telegraph Sport, was conducted again before Saturday’s Community Shield at Wembley.
That seems likely to continue when the Premier League kicks off a week on Saturday.