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Off Your Knees, Liverpool

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As a lifelong Liverpool supporter of 40+ years, descended from a family of Liverpool supporters who have been attending games going back a hundred years, LFC are a big part of my life and have given me great moments and memories (winning countless trophies and being involved in incredible matches that have become almost folklore). I have also been through the extreme lows such as Heysel (where 39 Italian supporters tragically died) and attended the FA Cup semi final against Nottingham Forest in 1989 where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives after police mismanagement of the crowd. Having been in the fateful Leppings Lane end of the ground, I have been part of the decades long campaign to see justice for families – all without any violence, rioting or looting I hasten to add. Yes, the police contributed to the death of 96 predominantly white working class northerners and justice had to be fought for and dragged kicking and screaming out of the system. Compare and contrast the response to the Grenfell Fire if you will, and it makes you question whether the State values certain lives over others. Mainly white working class northern lads deserve justice just as much as anyone else.

Supporting Liverpool becomes part of who you are, possibly like no other club. LFC has a unique almost religious draw, where people go to Anfield, the place of worship, and are taken away to a cauldron of belonging and emotion, initiated by singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone“. All manner of people come together and get along, a comradery which means that people of all backgrounds, religions and political views can get along and unite behind the only cause that matters – the success of the club. The phrase ‘never mix sport and politics’ couldn’t be better exemplified than at Liverpool Football Club.

So it was with dismay I saw that Liverpool had waded into the political storm of the riots in America following the death of African American criminal George Floyd in police custody. Gathering round the centre circle, choreographed perfectly in alternating shirt colours, they all ‘took a knee’, a protest gesture initially performed by controversial Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Kaepernick is the American footballer who protested what he saw as racial injustice by performing the act during the American National anthem, though mass support for him was minimal, and four years later he has still failed to find a professional club willing to give him a contract.

At the time of writing, no motive for the actions of the police officer involved in the Floyd incident has been determined (there seems to be an assumption it is race related, but that is the media building a deliberately divisive narrative). A group declared domestic terrorists (Antifa) are attacking businesses and innocent people in the streets causing misery and ruin for many (often black business owners in the districts they are attacking). The system moved quickly following the Floyd incident, sacking the police officer involved and charging him; he will face justice so it is hard to know what the rioters want. It certainly has nothing to do with the memory of Floyd as his family have asked them to stop. With no evidence of a race motive this appears to be a bad cop committing a heinous act for which justice will be served. Even if it proves to be racially motivated, despite what you are routinely told, there is no evidence of institutional racism in the American Police force. Like the UK, America is one of the least racist countries in the world, where a black man can become President, where the world wishes to live, and where justice is served to those in authority committing crime. Compare and contrast to countries in the Middle East where state sanctioned religious persecution is rife, with appalling acts carried out by the State, but we never see mass protests against those countries of course.

Indeed, the statistics actually paint a picture of the USA in total opposition to the message behind the protests. Black boxing legend Mike Tyson tweeted “If white people rioted every time a black man killed them, we’d never have any peace”, citing a graph of interracial violent crime from 2012 – 2015:

Black on White Crime: 540,873

White on Black Crime: 92,706

Hispanic on White: 404,735

White on Hispanic: 169,304

Hispanic on Black: 56,147

Black on Hispanic: 169,304

A chart from the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2018 shows and even greater disparity as the figure become more up to date.

Tyson eventually buckled under the pressure and deleted his tweet, but statistics aren’t racist or controversial. So why does the media hide them? They are merely facts. Indeed, when you consider that whites are overwhelmingly the majority race in the USA, the above figures are even more startling. However you choose to look at the figures, the picture is consistent. Per million, 9.83 whites are killed by blacks, as opposed to 0.77 blacks killed by whites. 53.94 people per million blacks are killed by blacks – that is a 70x increase – but never it warrants a march or a protest.

‘Death by Cop’ you say? Well again, more white people are killed by police every year by the police than black people. In the collected records to date for 2020, of the 228 people shot by police, only 31 were black. Every statistic flies in the face of the narrative of division being pushed and inflamed by a dangerous mainstream media, who seem determined to cause unrest. Black actor and writer Leonydus Johnson has received extreme abuse on Twitter for stating the following statistic; that for every 10,000 white people arrested for violent crime, 4 are killed. For every 10,000 black people arrested for violent crime, 3 are killed. The angry responses prove that the left wing activists actually are not interested in truth, they have an agenda built on knowingly false information because hatred of their country overrides all other emotions.

So why on earth have Liverpool decided to undo decades of good work by involving themselves in such an emotive and unclear issue? It may appease many local fans who seem to dislike America and the West in general, but the club is global with a huge fan base. Many won’t be happy as they appreciate the fact that sport is usually divorced from politics – and this is an own goal completely of their own making. By doing nothing when Daniel Shaver was shot by police (on his knees sobbing and begging for his life in one of the worst incidents of it’s type), the club is picking sides. The default position should be ‘don’t be involved in anything political’. You haven’t heard of Shaver? That may be because he was white, the media didn’t care and nobody looted, rioted and attacked innocent people; his killer received justice through the courts.

So what should happen? The club should issue a statement to say this was driven by a couple of the players (Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum according to local press) and that the club distances itself from all political gestures. Some players may have felt uncomfortable being put in that position but peer pressure is a powerful thing. Let Anfield and LFC be only about the sport, and let everyone get along free from news, politics and the real world for at least 90 minutes every Saturday afternoon.

It has worked very well for the last 128 years at Liverpool FC.

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