Sky Sports’ Matt Le Tissier WILL keep wearing Black Lives Matter badge on TV after criticising calls to defund police – The Sun
SKY Sports' Matt Le Tissier will keep wearing a Black Lives Matter badge on TV after criticising the movement's "far-left" calls to defund the police.
He had questioned if he should sport the item as he doesn't support the group's anti-capitalist views, but decided to keep the pin on to fight racism.
The 51-year-old pundit told the MailOnline: "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."
Black Lives Matter’s adoption of the slogan “defund the police” in particular has caused controversy over the aim to "dismantle capitalism".
One of BLM’s biggest demands is that police forces are disbanded and their funds redirected into youth and mental health services.
A Gofundme page run by the group, which has so far raised more than £1million, says some of the money will be spent on “strategies for the abolition of police".
What is Black Lives Matter?
The civil rights group came about in response to extreme police brutality which culminated in the shooting dead of three African-American men in 2013.
The movement was founded by three community organisers and civil rights activists – Alica Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
The three women had first met through an organisation which trains community organisers.
It began with a simple hashtag – #BlackLivesMatter – before people began taking to the streets to protest against inequality and violence.
Organisers say the movement's mission is to "eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities".
Black Lives Matter regularly campaigns against institutional racism and violence towards black people.
BLM has been criticised for appearing to allow Socialist Workers Party linked members to "hijack" the movement with aims other than racial equality.
But while both groups have been vocal about sharing the desire to dismantle capitalism, BLM recently released a statement distancing itself from the SWP.
The BLM movement has seen a huge wave of support in sport since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin.
Prem stars wore Black Lives Matters messages on the back of their shirts for the first game back of the league's restart from coronavirus.
And presenters and guests on Sky Sports have worn BLM badges in solidarity with the movement when appearing on the programme.
But Le Tissier said earlier he had question if he should wear the badge, and had been in talks with the show's bigwigs about the matter.
The Southampton legend started a debate by initially posting on Twitter: “If you’re far right or far left do me and yourselves a favour and unfollow me.”
Which prompted a response from @stuarthealy1, which read: "If you are central Matt why wear a badge promoting a far left ideology?"
The 51-year-old wrote back: "That's a good point and one which I've made to my boss already."
Sky Sports confirmed the pundit had approached them and added no-one was obliged to wear the badge.
Black Lives Matter accused of 'spreading hate':
This week BLM was accused of "spreading hate" after pledging support for Palestine amid Israel's plans to annex the West Bank.
The UK arm of the movement put out a series of messages on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on its Twitter account.
But Jewish groups and human rights campaigners said the anti-racism group's tweets were "failings".
BLM's comments come as Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, plans to annex Jewish settlements within Palestinian occupied West Bank – forbidden in international law.
The BLM UK account wrote: "As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel's settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades. FREE PALESTINE."
Another user said: "Maybe you should review your BLM badge wearing", to which Le Tissier wrote back: "I am reviewing".
Many of the England icon's followers have waded into the debate, with another asking: “So let me get this straight, you had objections to wearing a badge saying Black Lives Matter?”
To which the former midfielder wrote back: "Let me get this straight you promote defunding the police and ending capitalism?”
Hundreds of protests have taken place across the world in recent weeks calling for an end to racism and police brutality, after a video emerged online of former police officer Chauvin kneeling on 46-year-old Floyd’s neck.
Following Floyd's death on May 25, 44-year-old Chauvin was fired from Minnesota city’s police department and was charged with murder.
Chauvin’s three fellow officers were also sacked and have been charged with aiding and abetting.
Protestors and activists say the solution to police brutality and racial injustice is to drastically decrease local police budgets.
Instead of pouring city budget funds into police departments, local governments should be redirecting money into investing in marginalised communities.
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