Sky Sports pundits ditch Black Lives Matters badge for Kick It Out as BLM’s accused of ‘hijacking’ George Floyd’s death

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SKY Sports pundits today switched Black Lives Matters badges for Kick It Out pins, after the group was accused of “hijacking” George Floyd’s death.

Most guests on Soccer Saturday instead wore the football-linked anti-racism charity’s emblem after a week of debates.

Jeff Stelling, Clinton Morrison, Matt Le Tissier and Paul Merson all made the swap today.

But presenters on BT Sport, including Rio Ferdinand and Jake Humphrey, still wore the BLM badge.

The BLM movement, and the wearing of their badges, has split presenters and guests on Sky Sport – with some now wearing no pins.

This week the group became embroiled in a row as they were criticised of using the movement in the UK to promote political views.

It comes as it was reported the BBC told staff and guests not to wear the BLM badge.

The UK arm has come under recent scrutiny after it shared tweets about the Israel-Palestine conflict and has made calls to defund the police.

It had claimed British politics is “gagged of the right to critique Zionism” and issued a “free Palestine” message.

But Jewish groups and human rights campaigners said the anti-racism group’s tweets were “failings”.

I just don’t agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti-capitalist points are things I do not agree with.

Following this, some Sky Sports pundits chose to stop wearing the pin – with Le Tissier saying he didn’t want to show support for the “far-left”.

The 51-year-old said: “I just don’t agree with some of the points of that movement – specifically the defunding of the police and the anti-capitalist points are things I do not agree with.

“They are the two main points for me. I am quite happy for them to have their point of view, but that is mine and that is where I sit.

Sky Sports said guests and hosts were able to make their own decisions about wearing Black Lives Matter badges.

Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole and Martin Keown kept wearing Black Lives Matter badges.

Their decision came after fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp ditched his BLM badge in the wake of the controversial tweets.

Black Lives Matter’s adoption of the slogan “defund the police” in particular has caused controversy over the aim to “dismantle capitalism”.

One of BLM’s biggest demands is that police forces are disbanded and their funds redirected into youth and mental health services.

Since the Premier League returned after lockdown on June 17, players have knelt before kickoff and had Black Lives Matter patches on their sleeves.

But the Premier League now appear to have distanced itself from the movement.

Near the end of the week it said it recognised “the importance of the message that black lives matter” but said it “does not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity”. 

Tottenham Hotspur also reportedly became the first club to publicly break with the movement over the tweets.

The Black Lives Matter movement was thrust into the spotlight after the death of Mr Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

A video of his killing showing a white police officer kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck as he gasped “I can’t breathe” went viral and sparked worldwide protests.

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