Black Lives Matter badges disappeared again from Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage after returning for a day – after the BBC branded them ‘political’ and banned them from screens.
Sky is allowing pundits to make their own decisions about whether they wear the badges – with Patrice Evra ditching it on Tuesday, but Ashley Cole continuing to wear it on Wednesday.
Roy Keane, Graeme Souness, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards were seen without as they analysed Premier League clashes Manchester City vs Liverpool and Sheffield United vs Tottenham on Thursday night.
Jamie Redknapp, who hasn’t worn the emblem since Tuesday, also opted to not wear a Black Lives Matter badge as he discussed the games in the Sky Sports studio.
The Premier League has distanced itself from the anti-racism movement, but players in these matches still had ‘Black Lives Matter’ patches on their sleeves after George Floyd’s death in the US in May.
Footballers also ‘took a knee’ in solidarity with the movement prior to kick-off.
Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane ditched the Black Lives Matter badge on air on Thursday night
Jamie Redknapp, who hasn’t worn the emblem since Tuesday, was also seen without a Black Lives Matter badge as he discussed the night’s Premier League fixtures in the studio
Graeme Souness (pictured), Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards were also seen without as they analysed Manchester City v Liverpool, and Sheffield United v Tottenham on Sky Sports
Micah Richards also didn’t appear to wear a BLM badge during the night’s coverage
Since the league resumed on June 17, Sky Sports presenters have worn the badges with the campaign phrase after all 20 clubs agreed to emblazon ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their shirts for all matches following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Players and officials have also ‘taken the knee’ before every match so far, a symbol adopted by US athletes to protest police brutality and racism in 2016 and now used in BLM protests across the world.
However, concerns have been raised after a series of tweets by BLM which criticised Israel and called on the British government to ‘defund the police’.
The Premier League said it recognised ‘the importance of the message that black lives matter’ – without referring to the organisation’s name in upper case – but made clear that it ‘does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity.’
Chiefs are not expected to ditch the BLM badge on shirts, having drawn a distinction between BLM’s cause and the group itself.
The BBC have banned pundits and guests from wearing BLM badges, with a senior source at the corporation telling the Daily Telegraph bosses decided they did not want ‘visual symbols of support’ for the movement to be worn on screen.
David McGoldrick (right) of Sheffield United takes a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement prior to the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur
The Premier League has distanced itself from the movement, but players in Thursday’s matches still had ‘Black Lives Matter’ patches on sleeves after George Floyd’s death in May
Richards and Keane working for Sky Sports during the match at the Etihad Stadium
On Wednesday night Ashley Cole was seen wearing a Black Lives Matter badge during Sky Sports’ coverage of Bournemouth v Newcastle and Everton v Leicester
Rio Ferdinand (pictured) and Martin Keown also continued to wear their badges as they analysed the clash on Wednesday night between Arsenal and Norwich on BT Sport
On Sunday’s Match of the Day, neither Alan Shearer or Micah Richards were wearing Black Lives Matter badges.
The BBC source told the Daily Telegraph: ‘The BBC cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign.
‘Therefore we wouldn’t want anyone on-screen to be wearing visual symbols of support. Our presenters and guests can discuss Black Lives Matter, and we’ve reported on it in depth.
‘We’re not impartial about racism. But wearing badges on screen – as with any other campaign – would be a step too far.’
On Tuesday night, Sky Sports pundit Patrice Evra chose not to wear a badge before Jamie Redknapp followed suit.
The following day, David Jones and James Collins both opted to wear the emblem in coverage of Bournemouth vs Newcastle and Everton vs Leicester.
Matt Le Tissier said he had only worn the badge after being asked to do so by bosses at the broadcaster, while stressing he ‘could not support’ the cause’s anti-police and anti-capitalist aims.
James Collins wore the Black Lives Matter badge along with a badge praising the NHS
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson after the match, as play continues behind closed doors following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus
He had, along with fellow Sky pundit Jamie Carragher, appeared on air wearing a BLM badge.
However, on Wednesday night’s coverage David Jones, James Collins and Ashley Cole were all still wearing the badges in Sky’s coverage of Bournemouth vs Newcastle and Everton vs Leicester.
The Black Lives Matter logo was also shown on the broadcaster’s pre-match graphic.
Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown and Jake Humphrey also continued to wear their badges on BT Sport as they analysed the clash between Arsenal and Norwich on Wednesday.