Sale Sharks quartet Marland Yarde, Tom Curry, Simon Hammersley and Sam Hill take a knee before kick-off
Last Updated: 14/08/20 9:40pm
Harlequins players all took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter and were joined by four of Sale’s starting line-up on Premiership Rugby’s return.
Harlequins hosted Sale on Friday night as Premiership Rugby returned following a long pause due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Harlequins formed a circle in their own half as they dropped to one knee for a moment of pause and reflection ahead of the kick-off. The match referee also knelt.
Sale’s players emerged from the tunnel at Twickenham’s Stoop wearing T-shirts with the message “Rugby Against Racism”.
Four of their starters – Marland Yarde, Tom Curry, Simon Hammersley and Sam Hill – joined the Harlequins players in the gesture of solidarity. The majority of Sale’s replacements also knelt on the touchline.
Former England skipper Chris Robshaw told Sky Sports News earlier this week Harlequins would kneel as a show of support for equal opportunities for everyone “regardless of the colour of their skin”.
The club confirmed during the week they would be kneeling in support of the Rugby Against Racism campaign.
Earle: Rugby can do more to improve diversity
Harlequins winger Nathan Earle believes rugby can do more to improve diversity in the game.
The 25-year-old says rugby would benefit from finding more talent from deprived areas of society and he is a firm believer in what the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to achieve.
“I connect with it massively, I went to one of the protests,” Earle told Sky Sports News. “I thought it was incredibly powerful and especially now, it’s not as fresh in the mind all the stuff with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“But now more than ever we need to keep the conversation going whether we do something in rugby or outside rugby.
“It’s about making sure people are still hearing that Black Lives Matter and that conversation is still going on so that people understand that there’s still social injustice, there’s still racial inequality within our society and systemic racism.
“As long as we keep the conversation going then hopefully that will change and hopefully in the future we won’t have to be saying that Black Lives Matter.
“I think it [rugby] can always do better. You look at the majority of players, they all come from private school backgrounds.
“I think we can definitely reach into lower socio-economic areas, get more people from those areas into rugby because that can only improve the game in England and then worldwide.
“If there are more people watching it and playing it then there is only scope for it to grow.”
‘Boils my blood when people say they can’t see colour’
Harlequins prop Shaunagh Brown says it “boils her blood” when people say they do not see colour.
Brown, who is mixed race, says the differences between people should be acknowledged and celebrated, rather than treating individuals like “sheets of blank paper”.
“People say ‘I don’t see colour’, which boils my blood; ‘I don’t see you as black or white’. What you see me as is irrelevant, it’s what I see myself as,” Brown told Sky Sports News.
“I’m telling you part of my identity is being mixed race, is having afro hair. If you’re saying you don’t see colour, for me you don’t see me as part of my identity. You’re just seeing me as a sheet of blank paper.
“So what you’re saying is, you don’t see me as the entire package, and that goes back to me not feeling like I can be completely 100 per cent myself because apparently you’re not seeing me.
“You’re not seeing 100 per cent of myself, you’re seeing maybe 90 per cent of me because you’re not seeing the ten per cent of me that I relate to my identity as the colour of my skin.
“The other one is ‘I don’t see you as black’. Well what is seeing me as black? Do you want me to say wha gwaan all the time and wear my pants down my bum? What is black to you?”
Source : Sky Sports