An MP has been branded a 'hypocrite' by fans who mocked him after he slammed England stars for taking the knee in Qatar.
The England team took the knee, which has become a symbol of the fight against racism since last season, in their World Cup opener against Iran. Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate revealed the team agreed to make the gesture, which was dropped before the Nations League, at the World Cup to make a stand against Qatar's poor human rights record on football's biggest stage.
The decision to take the knee comes after the Three Lions backed out of wearing the One Love rainbow armbands to contest Qatar's treatment of the LGBTQ+ community following FIFA's threat to book players if they went ahead with the protest. And England's choice not to wear the armbands prompted a controversial response from MP Brendan Clarke-Smith who called for the taking of the knee 'nonsense' and other 'virtue signalling' gestures to be axed at the tournament.
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He tweeted: "Now cut out the kneeling nonsense and the rest of the selective virtue signalling and let football do the talking."
But his outburst was swiftly condemned by fans who found a pic of the Conservative MP engaging in the same behaviour he was moaning about. Eagle-eyed Twitter users unearthed a snap of Clarke-Smith kneeling whilst paying tribute to war veterans surrounded by poppies, leading to a cascade of jibes being aimed at the forgetful member of parliament.
One fan scoffed at the image: "Yeah, bloody kneeling and virtue signalling with symbolic gestures.," alongside the rolling eyes emoji. A second fan challenged him saying: "So 'virtue signalling' is bad but not when you do it?"
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While a third scolded him by adding: "Fair play mate, you really are just a horrible nasty man, I pity how full of hatred you are, a sad, sad, sad little man." Then a fourth reminded Clarke-Smith that England's diverse squad was behind their mutilation of Iran, and said: "The ultra-inclusive England Team won 6-2."
Although England's squad weren't able to wear the One Love armbands, there was one Three Lions legend who did brandish it freely off the pitch. FIFA couldn't do anything to prevent former Lioness star Alex Scott from promoting the rainbow armband during the BBC's coverage of England's game, to the delight of fans.
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