Boss Derek McInnes today said Aberdeen were ready to “take a knee” for the Black Lives Matter movement even if there was no official backing.
The players’ union PFA Scotland, the SPFL and anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card have came out in support of players and officials making the gesture in this weekend’s Premiership games.
McInnes revealed the Reds were already planning on taking the stance any-way in Saturday’s Pittodrie clash with Rangers on Sky Sports.
The Dons took a knee prior to kick-off in the 1-1 friendly draw with Hibs at Pittodrie at the weekend.
Players worldwide have taken a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in police custody in the United States in May.
McInnes insists it is vital the anti-racism message is kept in the spotlight.
The manager said: “With or without the PFA we would have done it as a club. It was always our intention.
“We had a game on Saturday and we all took the knee before that, almost as a rehearsal for what we intend to do on Saturday and for however long it takes.
“For me it is vitally important that such an important and worthy cause is kept in the spotlight.
“We can continue to do what others have over the last wee while and keep it at the forefront of minds.
“So that it is a reminder every time someone sits down to watch a game of football that there are still serious issues out there and discrimination.
“I feel we have to be able to show that solidarity and support for this movement.”
Aberdeen’s clash with Rangers at 12.30pm on Saturday will officially kick-off Scottish football’s return after four months away following the coronavirus pandemic.
The weekend’s Premiership games will feature players wearing specially-commissioned T-shirts during their warm-ups promoting the work of Scotland’s anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card, which has worked with the SPFL for several years.
Players, staff and officials will be given the opportunity to take a knee prior to kick-off.
Former Celtic player Aleksandar Tonev was found guilty of racial abuse towards Aberdeen defender Shay Logan in 2014. Tonev was hit with a seven-game ban.
This summer Aberdeen midfielder Funso Ojo called on his fellow professionals to show their support for Black Lives Matter by taking a knee when the Premiership started.
Ojo said he was prepared to pay a fine if punished for the action.
In a mark of solidarity, PFA Scotland and the SPFL are all backing the right to take a knee.
McInnes said: “We want to support all our players no matter what their concerns or issues are.
“Whether we have black players in our squad or team or not we are fully supportive of this.
“There have been too many stories of discrimination and it is still out there.
“You don’t have to look too far to see news of players being racially abused and discrimination still clearly being a problem. For me we support all our players with this.
“It is too important and we have to be a club who sees the importance of supporting any of our players who have any issues on that front.
“We we want to make sure we are supportive of this movement.”
Show Racism the Red Card and PFA Scotland submitted a proposal to the SPFL when it became clear Scotland’s players wanted to add their voice to the growing worldwide anti-racism movement.
Fraser Wishart, chief executive of PFA Scotland, said: “Having spoken with their teammates, our management committee felt very strongly that they should be given the opportunity to take the knee and show their support for the anti-racism message as their colleagues in the English Premiership and beyond had.
“We spoke with our representatives at all Premiership clubs and they were in agreement that they wanted to show their support for the Black Lives Matters movement.
“Football and footballers have a powerful voice and our members wanted to use that for the greater good to help spread the vital anti-racism message.
“We thank the SPFL for accepting our joint proposal and allowing the players to show their support as they kick-off the new season.”
Immediately prior to kick-off in the first fixture round, the referee will blow his whistle to give players, staff and officials the chance to take a knee or make a similar gesture if they wish.
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said: “Racism is abhorrent to any right-thinking person in our society today.
“The SPFL wholeheartedly supports the right of players, officials and others who wish to underline their opposition to such hateful beliefs and behaviours to ‘take a knee’ as we relaunch the game in Scotland.
“However, the manner in which people choose to express their opposition must remain a matter of individual freewill and personal choice.
“It’s for that reason that it would be wholly inappropriate for the SPFL, or indeed any organisation, to compel anyone to make any specific gesture.
“As in other sports, individuals must be free to express their own views in other ways, and the SPFL respects their right to do so.”