British foreign minister Dominic Raab has said that “taking the knee” seems to have come from the fantasy TV drama series “Game of Thrones” -- and that it felt like a symbol of subjugation and subordination.
The death of George Floyd sparked international outrage and protests after a video emerged of a white police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes -- many demonstrators are now kneeling in streets around the world to protest against racism.
The position was first taken by National Football League player Colin Kaepernick during the playing of the U.S. national anthem to call attention to racial injustice -- it has been adopted by many sports players since.
In England, Premier League soccer players, including champions Manchester City, took a knee before kickoff in support of the Black Lives Matter movement when the season restarted on Wednesday.
Raab, was asked if he would adopt the position during a TalkRadio interview on Thursday (June 18).
PRESENTER: "After watching the football last night, would you 'take a knee' if you were asked to?"
"Do you know what? I understand this sense of frustration and restlessness which is driving the Black Lives Matter movement. I've got to say, on this 'taking the knee' thing - I don't know, maybe it's got a broader history, but it seems to taken from the 'Game of Thrones' - feels to me like a symbol of subjugation and subordination, rather than one of liberation and emancipation. But I understand people feel differently about it, so it's an issue of personal choice."
(PRESENTER: "So would you or wouldn't you do it?")
"I'd take the knee for two people - the queen and the missus (wife) when I asked her to marry me."
In “Game of Thrones”, the phrase “bending the knee” is used when someone pledges to a monarch or lord.
Raab later tried to clarify his remarks, saying he had “full respect” for the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Twitter, he said “If people wish to take a knee, that’s their choice and I respect it. We all need to come together to tackle any discrimination and social injustice.”
Some opposition lawmakers were highly critical of his words.
Black MP David Lammy tweeted: “This is not just insulting to the Black Lives Matter movement, it is deeply embarrassing for Dominic Raab,”
“He is supposed to be the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.”