Cork City's Olowu hails League of Ireland decision to take a knee before games

Cork City's Olowu hails League of Ireland decision to take a knee before games
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Bandon's Conor Hourihane, who plays for Aston Villa, taking a knee in in honour of Black Lives Matter movement during the Premier League match at Villa Park. Picture: PA

CORK City players will take the knee before Bohemians game Cork City will take the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Sunday afternoon before their home game against Bohemians at Turners Cross. 

The players and match officials will take the knee before kick-off at 5pm.

Cork City defender Joseph Olowu said it was a great gesture to promote the message of solidarity.

“As a collective it is massive,” he said, “Taking the knee is a massive and important message to show unity. Racism is something that shouldn’t be tolerated in society. Regardless of your background and ethnicity, everyone should stand and condone racism. It is something that we shouldn’t allow in the game.

“All the leagues across the world are picking up on this and government bodies are encouraging this. It can only be a positive message.” 

Olowu is on loan from Arsenal and was hugely impressive in the early rounds before the Covid-19 sporting lockdown.

“I have not directly experienced racism but I know people who have and it isn’t good. Some of the stories of what players have to deal with are tough to listen too. It may seem like a player is dealing with it physically but mentally it is very tough on them. I’m fortunate that I haven’t come across it and I hope to never come across it in my career.”

Cork City's Joseph Olowu. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Cork City's Joseph Olowu. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The PFAI confirmed that all members will do so in support of the movement for eight rounds of games from July 31 to September 27. 

A statement explained: “The players will continue this for eight series of games to mark the untimely death of George Floyd and stand in solidarity with fellow professionals, civil society and the worldwide campaign for equality and fair treatment in life and sport.” 

The decision to take the knee comes from discussions involving the club delegates and the FAI Intercultural Officer Des Tomlinson.

Taking the knee is as a form of protest was first adopted by NFL star Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to highlight the structural and systemic forms of racism black people face in their daily lives. Since the brutal death of George Floyd in the US last May, players across European leagues shown solidarity with the movement, which protests police violence and structural racism. 

English Premier League players had the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ replacing their names on jerseys recently.

Meanwhile, City have signed strikers Kit Elliott and Scott Fenwick until the end of the season, with both deals subject to international clearance.

Elliott joins the club on loan from Championship side Huddersfield, while Fenwick joins the club having most recently played with Blyth Spartans in the National League. Both players will have to undergo a period of quarantine and will, therefore, be unavailable for the Bohemians and Waterford matches.

The club also confirmed Darragh Crowley joined Cobh Ramblers on loan until the end of the season.

Ahead of Sunday’s return to league action, City Chairman Declan Carey said: “We knew we had to back Neale in this transfer window and we’re delighted with the business that he’s done over these past few weeks. The next 13 games are a sprint and we feel that we have the strength to have a strong remainder of the season.”

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