Common Sense Champion: Lyle Taylor

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Mark Lehain
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This week’s Common Sense Champion is Lyle Taylor, a professional footballer at Nottingham Forest.

He’s hit the news for one very simple reason: at the start of matches he doesn’t ‘take the knee’, and when asked by a BBC journalist why this was, he had some strong words to say about the organisation Black Lives Matter.

Rather than paraphrase him, here is a transcript of what he said:

Journalist: “Can I ask you about the start of matches? Because we’ve noticed that when you’ve started games recently that you’re a player who stands rather than taking the knee. Can you tell us about that?”

LT: “My support for what it is that we’re trying to achieve is absolute, but i do not support Black Lives Matter as an institution, as an organisation, and I mean, I request anyone who does blindly support Black Lives Matter to have a look into what that organisation does and what they actually stand for, because it’s actually scandalous, the fact that the whole world and the whole world’s media has got behind Black Lives Matter.

Not the message, because black lives DO matter and I understand what the point of it is, but standing behind Black Lives Matter and all the institutions, the big institutions, the BBC, Sky, all of them sitting there saying “black lives matter”… It’s not a good idea because of what the actual institution and organisation stands for.

Journalist: “Well as you say, the message is important…”

LT: “The message is 100% important, don’t get me wrong on that. the message is important, you see things that are happening, I mean I not going to go into my beliefs op what’s going on and what went on in the Capitol building this week, because i’ve done my fair amount of research into it and Yatesy’s got an interesting nickname for me which i’ll let you ask him about, but in terms of black lives actually mattering, and black people being killed by police more frequently, it’s not a good thing, it’s not a good thing. Black lives do matter but you will never hear me, not ever hear me say black lives matter again in reference to that company.”

You can hear the interview itself by CLICKING HERE.

The pressure for Lyle to conform and continue to take the knee must have been huge.

That the FA, BBC and others unquestioningly got behind both the BLM movement and the official organisation was a terrible abdication of responsibility – not least because the extreme ideas advocated by the people at the centre of these are so divisive, representative, and wrong!

To literally stand up against a movement when others are folding is brave. To do so in such a polite, honest, and thoughtful manner is even more impressive. Lyle has sparked off again the debate about how sports should engage with social issues, and how individuals and others can check out the causes that they get behind.

For this, he is a worthy first Common Sense Champion of 2021 – nice one, Lyle!

Mark Lehain


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