Wakefield Trinity want more education on Black Lives Matter movement before deciding to take a knee, says head coach Chris Chester

PART of Wakefield Trinity's decision to not take the knee before yesterday's Super League meeting with Wigan Warriors was due to the squad wanting more education on the Black Lives Matter movement, head coach Chris Chester has said.

Monday, 10th August 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 10th August 2020, 5:26 pm
Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester. Picture: Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Trinity stood with their arms linked as Wigan knelt, with taking the knee becoming a symbol of support in the fight against racism.

Trinity star David Fifita choose to kneel alongside Wigan player Bevan French with the Australian Aboriginal Flag draped over their shoulders.

The Wakefield squad discussed the subject prior to their return to action on Sunday, with the feeling that they needed to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement before taking the knee.

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Wakefield say they are against discrimination and racism in all forms and that the decision to offer their support by standing together is one supported by the club.

“We had a good open chat during the week. We were led by the captain (Jacob Miller) and we just felt that as a group we needed some education on what the Black Lives Matter movement is," said Chester.

“That’s the reason we came up with what we did. I’ve been in dialogue with Alex Simmons (operations director of Jamaica Rugby League) quite a bit over the last couple of days and we just felt we needed a bit more education on it and what it was about.

"Ultimately it was led by the players and it’s a decision supported by myself as a coach, (CEO) Michael Carter and the rest of the people at the club.”

Wakefield Trinity players stay stood during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstration. Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com.

Protesters around the world have been taking a knee at demonstrations following the death of George Floyd in police custody in the United States.

Wakefield released a statement before the game endorsing the message behind black lives matter.

"Everyone at Wakefield Trinity fully supports all measures and messages devoted to improving equality, diversity and inclusion and we will confront racism, not only in rugby league but in society," read a club statement.

"How the players show that support before today's match is down to personal choice. They should not be vilified for that personal choice.

Wakefield's David Fifita and Wigan's Bevan French kneel with the Australian Aboriginal Flag over their shoulders. Picture: Allan McKenzie\SWpix.com.

"Wakefield Trinity endorses the important message that Black Lives Matter - for us, this is about people, not politics.

"The club will not tolerate any racism within its ranks and the board, players and staff are totally united on that."

Centre Reece Lyne insisted that Trinity's decision to not take the knee was not a snub of support to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Trinity chief executive Michael Carter felt that Lyne should not have needed to justify the players' stance on the matter through social media.

"Why Reece has to justify himself shows everything wrong with this world. 13 players of different race, creed and colour stood shoulder to shoulder united against racism", said Carter.

"Isn’t that exactly what everyone wants?"

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