Tory MP condemned for comparing footballers taking the knee to Nazi salutes

Sinead Butler
Tuesday 08 June 2021 12:49
Politics

(Left) Tory MP, Brendan Clarke-Smith (Right) England players taking the knee in their friendly against Romania on Sunday

(BBC Parliament and The FA via Getty Images)

A Conservative MP is under fire for his comments where he compares England footballers taking the knee in protest against racism to Nazi salutes.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire made the offensive remark in a lengthy post on his Facebook page ranting about “why politics and football don’t mix.”

England players were booed in their international friendly with Romania on Sunday, but remain defiant and will continue to take the knee during the Euro 2020 tournament.

In the bizarre post, Clarke-Smith compared them taking the knee to footballers who performed the Nazi salute during a match against Germany in Berlin in 1938.

The MP wrote: “Following the 1936 Berlin Olympics being used as a propaganda exercise and under a great deal of pressure from both the FA and Britain’s ambassador at the time, the players were encouraged to join the hosts in making the Nazi salute prior to the match.”

“Reluctantly, they agreed and for many years since it has been a great source of shame for many of those involved, including the Football Association…

“The point here is that regardless of the original intention, the mixing of politics and football had disastrous consequences…”

Danny Stone, director of the Antisemitism Policy Trust described Clarke-Smith’s comment as an “ill-considered and offensive comparison” and urged the Conservative party to “take action.”

Of course, people were understandably offended at Clarke-Smith’s comparison and took to social media to share their outrage.

While others criticised BBC Radio 4 for allowing Clarke-Smith on air to discuss England footballers taking the knee and failing to mention that he compared it to the Nazi salute.

When asked if Boris Johnson agrees with Clarke-Smith’s comments, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told The Mirror: “I haven’t asked him that specific question, but I don’t see the connection.”

Though these are not the only claims Clarke-Smith made in the post, he described how the Black Lives Matter movement “have some quite sinister motives.”

In the past, the MP has also called Black Lives Matter protesters “undesirables” and “the loony left.”

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