Black Lives Matter: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta proud of players for instigating support

 Emi Martinez, Bernd Leno and Joe Willock of Arsenal take a knee in support of Black Lives Matter before the friendly match between Arsenal and Brentford at Emirates Stadium on June 10, 2020 in London, England 0:30
Mikel Arteta says his players were behind the decision to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts and take a knee before a friendly on Wednesday

Mikel Arteta says his Arsenal players sent a "strong message" after instigating the decision to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts and take a knee before their friendly against Brentford on Wednesday night.

Athletes across the world, including Premier League footballers Raheem Sterling, and Tyrone Mings have joined in support of protests triggered by the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in US police custody last month.

On Wednesday, Arsenal's squad warmed up in specially-made T-shirts, which carried a variety of messages in support of black communities.

The Arsenal squad took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter before their friendly against Brentford
Image: The Arsenal squad took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter before their friendly against Brentford

Bukayo Saka wore a shirt which read: 'My skin is not a crime', while Hector Bellerin who was pictured training beside wore a shirt that said: "I'm not black but I stand with you".

Arteta then took a knee alongside his team before the game, which they lost 3-2.

Arsenal were beaten 3-2 by Brentford in their warm up match at the Emirates. 0:55
Watch highlights of Arsenal's warm-up match against Brentford at the Emirates Stadium

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News' The Football Show, Arteta revealed his players were behind the decision to wear the shirts and take a knee.

"The thing that I like most is that it came from them," Arteta said.

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"I got a phone call from the captain asking to do that, I spoke with the club straight away and we were very clear that we wanted to support their intentions, everyone collaborated, we created the shirt.

"It was a really strong message and it is more powerful because it comes from them. They think they have to support these types of causes."

Arteta excited for 'special' Man City return

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says taking Arsenal to face his former employers Manchester City will be a "strange" occasion, but is hopeful of taking advantage of an empty Etihad stadium.

The Gunners' first game back, which features in a double-header on Sky Sports on June 17, sees Arteta meet former boss Pep Guardiola for the first time since leaving City to take the reins at the Emirates.

Arteta spent four years on the coaching staff at City, after retiring there as a player in 2016.

Arteta told The Football Show: "It is going to be strange, I can't deny that. I know everybody there and spent four magnificent years with those players and staff."

Van Aanholt '100 per cent prepared' to take a knee

Patrick van Aanholt joined Crystal Palace from Sunderland in January 2017 on a four-and-a-half-year deal 1:08
Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt says he is willing to take a knee before their Premier League match against Bournemouth in support of anti-racism campaigns around the world

Patrick van Aanholt says he is "100 per cent prepared" to take a knee in his first game back in the Premier League.

The defender has told Sky Sports News he has been left "hurt" and "upset" by the death of Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

Van Aanholt has been vocal in his support for anti-racist movements that have followed and has been in an ongoing Twitter argument with media personality Katie Hopkins.

And in an exclusive Q&A with Sky Sports News he has now revealed he is ready to continue protests when the Premier League returns by taking a knee ahead of kick-off in Crystal Palace's first game back against Bournemouth on June 20.

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