Pro-government experts welcome the decision of the Hungarian national team not to “kneel” before their matches at the European Championship. A left-wing columnist and a centrist columnist acknowledge the move is highly controversial, but nonetheless criticize football fans who booed each other as the Irish team knelt.
Background information: in the last preseason game before the European Championship against Ireland, the Hungarian team did not kneel down before kick-off, but instead highlighted the UEFA anti-racism logo on their jerseys . Some Hungarian fans in the stadium booed as the Irish team knelt. Irish football manager Stephen Kelly found the gesture “incomprehensible”. Prime Minister Orbán has declared that kneeling other than to propose marriage, in church or on national anniversaries is “foreign to Hungarian culture”. Hungary has never had colonies, he added, and from a Hungarian cultural perspective, the wait to kneel is a “provocation”.
Magyar Nemzet‘s László Néző brands to kneel down in UEFA European Championship matches is an absurd blow. He suspects that the symbolic gesture of kneeling is intended to generate a feeling of guilt. The pro-government commentator argues that the real compensation for slavery would be to return the fortunes derived from slavery to the descendants of former slaves. He goes on to point out that Hungary has nothing to do with slavery, and he therefore finds it justified that the Hungarian team does not kneel, but rather points to the anti-racist slogan of UEFA printed on its shirts.
Magyar Hirlap‘s Pál Dippold harshly critical Péter Niedermüller, of the Democratic Coalition, mayor of the 7th district of Budapest, who in a post on Facebook condemned as shameful the behavior of the supporters who applauded the decision of the national team not to kneel, and mocked the Irish team when the players knelt. The pro-government columnist accuses the Liberals of jumping on the bandwagon of the “dumb BLM,” which Dippold sees as a hate, racist, anti-white and militant organization. As an aside, he claims that right now nine million people in Africa are being kept as slaves – by black people.
In Nepszava, Péter Nemeth condemned those fans who booed the Irish team by taking the knee, but at the same time he also reminds that under UEFA rules his events must not be used for political purposes. Nonetheless, he continues, the organization approved of the knee-taking, despite the gesture being popularized by Black Lives Matter, a political movement. Németh goes on to blame the Hungarian Football Association for taking UEFA regulations too seriously and for banning Hungarian players from kneeling for the Hungarian national team. Németh acknowledges that the Hungarian Football Association supports UEFA’s anti-racist initiatives, but still believes it could fight racism more effectively if it allowed Hungarian players to kneel down.
At Azonnal, Gabor Balogh find this justified that the Hungarian national team did not take the highly controversial knee. He nevertheless finds the supporters’ reaction offensive and vulgar, even though kneeling down is “an empty politically correct gesture” on the part of the Irish team, knowing that Ireland had no colonies and was it- even a quasi-colony of England. Balogh also continues to criticize Niedermüller for suggesting that rejection of kneeling is tantamount to embracing racism. Balogh writes that Hungarians, including most leftists, cannot identify with the knee – or identity politics in general.