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Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra DITCH badges for Black Lives Matter as football captains consider making public statement over links to organisation and Premier League distances themselves following group's extreme statements

Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Patrice Evra ditched their Black Lives Matter badges last night as football captains considered making a statement on the movement which the Premier League has distanced itself from. 
Redknapp and Evra along with host Kelly Cates and commentator Gary Neville were not wearing the badges during Sky's coverage of Brighton v Manchester United, during which players knelt before kickoff and had 'Black Lives Matter' on their sleeves.
Since the league resumed, guests appearing on Sky Sports have worn the badges with the campaign phrase after all 20 clubs agreed to emblazon 'Black Lives Matter' on their shirts for the first round of games following the Covid-19 break. 
Players and officials have also 'taken the knee' before matches, a symbol which was adopted by American athletes to protest police brutality and racism in 2016 and which has been used by Black Lives Matter protesters across the world since the killing of George Floyd.
But concerns have been raised after a series of tweets by the UK branch of Black Lives Matter which criticised Israel and called on the British government to 'defund the police'.
On Tuesday, the Premier League said it recognised 'the importance of the message that black lives matter' but made clear that it 'does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.' 
And Sportsmail can reveal that the issue has been discussed by several players, with a group of top-flight captains considering whether to make a public statement on the matter.  
While the players remain united in campaigning for equality and committed to maintaining such symbolic gestures for the remainder of the season, some are concerned about being associated with the political activism of Black Lives Matter UK. 
On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed that 'mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism.' 
The following day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has 'taken the knee' alongside parliamentary colleagues, called it a 'shame' that the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter protests was getting 'tangled up with these organisational issues' and said calls to defund the police were 'nonsense.'
Black Lives Matter UK responded by tweeting that 'as a public prosecutor, Sir Keir Starmer was a cop in an expensive suit.'
Sky Sports' ditching of the Black Lives Matter badges during Tuesday's coverage of Brighton v Manchester United comes after another pundit, Matt Le Tissier, said he only wore the badge after being asked to do so by bosses at the broadcaster.  
Pundits Jamie Redknapp, pictured, and Patrice Evra were not wearing Black Lives Matter badges when appearing on tonight's show on Sky Sports
Pundits Jamie Redknapp, pictured, and Patrice Evra were not wearing Black Lives Matter badges when appearing on tonight's show on Sky Sports
The pair were discussing Brighton v Manchester United on Sky Sports tonight
The pair were discussing Brighton v Manchester United on Sky Sports tonight
Patrice Evra, pictured, who also appeared on tonight's show, did not wear a BLM badge
Patrice Evra, pictured, who also appeared on tonight's show, did not wear a BLM badge
Mr Le Tissier, 51, criticised the group's 'far-left ideology' and said he 'could not support' the cause's anti-police and anti-capitalist aims. 
He had, along with fellow Sky pundit Jamie Carragher appeared on air wearing a Black Lives Matter badge but said he only did so after being asked to. 
Sky Sports said the issue of wearing the BLM badge was a matter of individual choice.  
The players' call to endorse the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter movement — the need for action to ensure greater equality and an expression of solidarity with those who have suffered persecution because of their race — was instrumental in persuading the Premier League to make the campaign such a visible part of Project Restart.
Every game since the resumption has been prefaced by players and match officials taking a knee in tribute to George Floyd, while the partner of Watford captain Troy Deeney designed a BLM logo which features on the shirts of all 20 Premier League clubs. 
In yesterday's statement, the Premier League said it stands alongside clubs and footballing bodies in supporting people who have 'come together in recent weeks to reject racism and to show support for the message that black lives matter.'
The Premier League has distanced itself from Black Lives Matter and said it 'does not endorse' the group after pundit Matt Le Tissier said he only wore their badge (circled) on TV after being asked to by Sky Sports bosses
The Premier League has distanced itself from Black Lives Matter and said it 'does not endorse' the group after pundit Matt Le Tissier said he only wore their badge (circled) on TV after being asked to by Sky Sports bosses
The body said in a statement that while there is 'no room for racism in football', it does not support any 'political organisation or movement', nor any group which 'calls for violence or condones illegal activity'. Pictured: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher wearing a BLM badge on June 21
The body said in a statement that while there is 'no room for racism in football', it does not support any 'political organisation or movement', nor any group which 'calls for violence or condones illegal activity'. Pictured: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher wearing a BLM badge on June 21
The dramatic about-turn came even though dozens of Premier League footballers have taken the knee - the symbol of the BLM movement - since the restart of the competition earlier this month
The dramatic about-turn came even though dozens of Premier League footballers have taken the knee - the symbol of the BLM movement - since the restart of the competition earlier this month 
On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed that 'mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism'
On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed that 'mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism'
On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed that 'mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism.' The following day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has 'taken the knee' alongside parliamentary colleagues, called it a 'shame' that the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter protests was getting 'tangled up with these organisational issues' and said calls to defund the police were 'nonsense.'
On Sunday, Black Lives Matter UK issued a barrage of tweets over Israel's proposed annexation of the West Bank and claimed that 'mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism.' The following day Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has 'taken the knee' alongside parliamentary colleagues, called it a 'shame' that the sentiment behind the Black Lives Matter protests was getting 'tangled up with these organisational issues' and said calls to defund the police were 'nonsense.'

However, it then went on: 'We do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.
'We are aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes and campaigns to promote their own political views. 
'These actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected by the Premier League and all other professional football bodies, and they underline the importance of our sport coming together to declare a very clear position against prejudice.' 
The message came after the UK arm of Black Lives Matter said it wants to defund the police completely and abolish capitalism and has pledged support for Palestine amid Israel's plans to annex the West Bank.  
The group's other aims prompted Le Tissier to tell MailOnline on Friday to air his criticism. 
His words followed black footballer Karl Henry, who branded the group 'divisive'.   
Le Tissier said bosses at Sky had asked him and other pundits to wear the logo for their appearances and he agreed, but pointed out he supported 'the cause, not the organisation'. 
Speaking outside his home near Southampton, Hants, he said: '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.'
When asked whether pundits on Sky Sports had been told to wear the badge, Le Tissier laughed and said: 'We were asked to wear it.' 
He and Henry had been the only high-profile voices in football so far to raise concerns about the UK arm, which has protested over the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in the US.
Until them the sport had completely embraced the movement, with players taking the knee before Premier League and Championship matches kicked off.
But the past few days has seen the group embroiled in an anti-Semitism row and criticism of its 'defund the police' agenda. 
Presenters and guests on Sky Sports have worn BLM badges when appearing on programmes, but now Le Tissier says he has held talks with his bosses about this.
Meanwhile Henry has called for a 'new inclusive and politically-neutral anti-racism movement' after savaging the UK group online.
In response, the channel said no-one was obliged to wear the logo, with a source adding it supported the group simply for its anti-racism stance.
The Southampton legend and former England international replied to a tweet accusing him of 'promoting a far-left ideology' and said he had spoken with Sky Sports chiefs about the matter.  
Le Tissier is one of football's most popular pundits after a glittering career at Southampton and was voted the greatest Premier League player of all time in a Eurosport poll. 
Karl Henry spoke out against Black Lives Matter UK over their anti-capitalism and stance on trying to abolish the police (pictured here playing for Bolton in 2018)
Karl Henry spoke out against Black Lives Matter UK over their anti-capitalism and stance on trying to abolish the police (pictured here playing for Bolton in 2018)

Le Tissier appeared to echo tweets by former Wolves player Karl Henry who said he thought the public had tired of the Black Lives Matter UK organisation
Le Tissier appeared to echo tweets by former Wolves player Karl Henry who said he thought the public had tired of the Black Lives Matter UK organisation

He began the debate by urging his followers to remove him on Twitter if they were from the 'far right or far left'. 
'Morning peeps, polite request, if you're far right or far left do me and yourselves a favour and unfollow me, it'll be good for yours and our mental health as I couldn't give 2 hoots how many followers I have I won't be offended.' 
One Twitter user replied: '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.' 
Another said: 'Maybe you should review your BLM badge wearing', to which he responded: 'I am reviewing'.
There has been plenty of reaction and debate following Le Tissier's tweet, with another user saying he 'hated this badging of the left and right'. 
And one replied telling him 'that BLM badge is a bit dodgy'.
There has been plenty of reaction and debate following Le Tissier's tweet, with another user saying he 'hated this badging of the left and right'. 
And one replied telling him 'that BLM badge is a bit dodgy'.
Former Wolves, Stoke City, QPR, Bolton and Bradford City professional footballer Karl Henry also raised concerns about the aims of BLM UK. 
He tweeted yesterday: 'I think the majority of the UK have now had enough of that organisation.       
'A new inclusive and politically-neutral anti-racism movement to follow and get behind is much needed. Black people's lives matter!
'The divisive #BlackLivesMatter organisation, however, DOES NOT.'
Black Lives Matter encourage the slogan #DefundThePolice amid outcry over alleged violence by police towards black people, saying they 'call for an end to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken'.
In further remarks he took aim at some of the UK group's far-left policies.   
He added: 'Let's just look at Capitalism, which #BlackLivesMatterUK want to abolish. 
'It does NOT favour white people. It is not the enemy of the black community. 
'Capitalism allows free enterprise and entrepreneurialism. If other communities can flourish under capitalism, so can we!' 
Speaking about their views on the police on the Black Lives Matter website, the movement says Floyd's death was a 'breaking point' and 'a reminder that, for black people, law enforcement doesn't protect or save our lives. They often threaten and take them'.
They have called for 'a national defunding of police', asking for 'investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive'.
But there is a growing chorus of voices who want to know exactly who is behind the group.
Last week they posted a statement on various social media feeds, promising soon to 'create a website' that would 'ease any confusion around which of the many Black Lives Matter organisations and platforms that have emerged is actually us'.
The statement also promised its spending 'will be made public in the spirit of transparency and accountability in due course'. As to who is behind the organisation, it claimed its leaders were busy dealing with 'emergency legal matters' and 'the hostility of far-Right groups' which represent 'a genuine threat to our safety'.
Yesterday it seemed to be trying to row back on its police money remarks, tweeting a post at odds with its own published aims.
It said: 'When we say 'Defund the police' we mean Invest in programmes that actually keep us safe like youth services, mental health and social care, education, jobs and housing. Key services to support the most vulnerable before they come into contact with the criminal justice system.'
A Sky Sports said none of the presenters were obliged to wear the badges.
One source familiar with the situation added: 'It is the individual's choice whether they wear the badges or not.
'The channel's support for Black Lives Matter is for the moral cause of the campaign for racial justice, rather than for any political organisation.' 

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