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Hungarian footballers take the knee in the Premier League

August 16th, 2023

Right-wing commentators compare the kneeling gesture to opportunistic moves by citizens under communism.

After two of Hungary’s top footballers took the knee with their teammates in England, pundits exchange barbs over the gesture. Zoltán Somogyi, a liberal political analyst complains that his Facebook post on the matter was followed by a wave of angry and passionate comments from both sides of the political divide. Because of a wave of violent comments, Gábor Bencsik, a pro-government commentator even withdrew his Facebook post in which he said footballers yield to pressure by a minority when they kneel on the pitch.

On Mandiner, Zsolt Ungváry recalls how his father had to carry communist leader János Kádár’s portrait at a Mayday parade despite having been arrested by Kádár’s police after the 1956 revolution. It seemed wiser not to be an outlier, he adds. Ungváry believes Dominik Szoboszlai, today’s best Hungarian footballer took the right decision by not refusing to take the knee and sacrificing his promising career. Szoboszlai’s future feats may do much more to boost Hungary’s image in the world than a single gesture of refusal would, he concludes.

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