Glenn Webbe: Former Wales wing backs rugby players taking the knee

Ex-Wales wing Glenn Webbe is against banning the singing of Swing Low, Sweet, Chariot

Former Wales wing Glenn Webbe supports rugby players following other sportspeople by taking a knee before matches when the game resumes.

Footballers have been making the gesture before Premier League and Championship matches.

"A lot of the footballers are doing the same thing as a mark of respect, taking the knee to start the game, so why not?" said former Bridgend star Webbe.

"I think it could be a tremendous situation."

American footballer Colin Kaepernick, who was then a San Francisco 49ers quarterback, made taking a knee an iconic form of protest against racial injustice in the United States.

He knelt during the American national anthem in 2016.

The Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum after the death of unarmed African American George Floyd, who died on 25 May while being restrained by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

His death has sparked protests across the US and worldwide.

Webbe believes kneeling before games should not be forced on players and individuals must make their own decision without being judged.

"That's the problem with a lot of things - when you make things law, you take away people's right to choose," said Webbe.

Glenn Webbe won 10 Wales caps between 1986 and 1988
Glenn Webbe won 10 Wales caps between 1986 and 1988

'It's a lifestyle to become racist'

"So if it's an option, you say this is the reason why we are going to do that, those that feel that they want to make the same statement join us, those who don't, we understand.

"There's nothing really wrong with that. If you dislike something, you dislike it. It's going to be very difficult to change your point of view overnight. Because, racism is like a religion, it's a lifestyle to become racist.

"I understand the Black Lives Matter movement is a very poignant thing, I know people are sitting up and taking notice.

"I think it can be softened and the movement is saying Black Lives Matter and it appears to some people that only black lives matter.

"I do not agree with that, I think it should be black lives also matter.

"All lives tend to matter, they do matter, but by saying black lives matter alone it seems a black lives issue alone and it isn't that.

"We've all got a problem, black, white, all sorts of races, we've all got problems and it's all about communication and understanding.

"I think we need to do more, and it's all going to be through education, integration, dialogue and diversity and basically you do need role models, someone to look up to."

Webbe, the second black player to play rugby union for Wales after former Pontypool flanker Mark Brown, believes his sport does not have the same levels of racism as football.

"It's a long road to stamp out racism entirely," Webbe told BBC Radio Wales.

"I just don't think rugby has the same level of racism as in football because of the nature of people who play and watch the game."