Coronavirus in Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon responds to Scottish rugby 'take the knee' row

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The First Minister said she has “no doubt” every member of the Scottish rugby squad stands firmly behind the fight against racism despite only four players choosing to take the knee ahead of Saturday’s Twickenham match.

Nicola Sturgeon’s comments were made during her daily coronavirus briefing when she was asked by a journalist whether or not she was “disappointed” by some of the players not joining in the gesture supporting the Black Lives Matter and broader anti-racism movement before kick-off.

Commenting on the debate she said: “I have no doubt that everybody in the Scottish rugby squad is absolutely firm in opposition to and complete condemnation of racism in all its forms.”

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She added: “I am sure the SRU (Scottish Rugby Union) have given some explanation about that.”

Nicola Sturgeon congratulates Scottish rugby team as she responds to take the knee debateNicola Sturgeon congratulates Scottish rugby team as she responds to take the knee debate
Nicola Sturgeon congratulates Scottish rugby team as she responds to take the knee debate

Ms Sturgeon went on to take the opportunity to congratulate the Scottish team for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup win at Twickenham.

The SRU released a statement following criticism over some players failing to take the knee saying: “Scottish Rugby fully supports rugby’s ongoing work to end discrimination and racism in our sport.

“This commitment has been expressed with a moment of reflection before every international match since the summer of 2020 and our players are free to demonstrate their support for this important issue in the way they see fit.”

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While it has become commonplace for footballers to take the knee before all domestic and international fixtures, there has been no such uniform approach within rugby.

As well as the four Scotland players – Ali Price, Jonny Gray, Chris Harris and Cameron Redpath – 12 members of the England squad also knelt before Scotland’s 11-6 win.

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