Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration) iStock

A UK Conservative Party MP has come under fire for comparing the decision by British soccer players to “take a knee” in support of Black Lives Matter at the Euro 2021 tournament to those who performed the Nazi salute in a 1936 match between Britain and Germany in Berlin.

The Antisemitism Policy Trust, an advocacy group, called for the Conservatives to “take action” against MP Brendan Clarke-Smith. With Trust director Danny Stone slamming his comparison on Monday, reported the Jewish News.

Clarke-Smith wrote in a Facebook post, “Following the 1936 Berlin Olympics being used as a propaganda exercise and under a great deal of pressure from both the FA and Britain’s ambassador at the time, the players were encouraged to join the hosts in making the Nazi salute prior to the match.”

He added, “England players, including the great Sir Stanley Matthews, were not impressed and did not want to do it. However, they had been reassured that it was merely a formal gesture of courtesy and that it did not mean an endorsement of the regime.”

He continued, “Reluctantly, they agreed and for many years since it has been a great source of shame for many of those involved, including the Football Association.”

The MP went on to warn about the consequences of mixing sports with politics.

“The point here is that regardless of the original intention, the mixing of politics and football had disastrous consequences. Symbolism means a lot, both in football and wider society, and we must think carefully about how it is used,” he said.