England's Watson hits back at 'double standard' criticism over taking a knee

Anthony Watson has received backlash over his and some of his teammates decision to take the knee. Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

England wing Anthony Watson has struck out at criticism surrounding some of the England players taking the knee calling it "a double standard."

Watson, 26, was one of 16 England players to take the knee ahead of their match against Scotland but has faced criticism over his decision to do so.

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Taking to his Twitter he wrote: "When athletes make humanly mistakes they're role models. When they express an opinion with their platform they're told to focus strictly on sports. Makes no sense."

The Bath Rugby wing also expressed that more education is needed, so everybody understands the importance and the history behind taking the knee..

"I think that if people were educated fully on why kneeling was started, then they would be in a much better place to comment on what we are doing and what is going on," Watson told reporters.

"Not everyone who is kneeling is directly associated with the Black Lives Matter organisation because some of their views, in my opinion, are extreme. But the importance of kneeling to raise awareness of social injustice.

"I think is still massively important. So to see people on social media trying to discredit its importance ... I can't let that slide."

The England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) expressed it is a player's choice on whether they choose to take the knee or not with some players choosing to stand before the match.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Rugby Union has had to defend its players after only four of them took the knee. Scotland forward Jamie Ritchie insisted that he and his teammates showed full support to anti-racism messages despite not taking the knee.

"I don't think anyone who didn't kneel was disagreeing with anything that was put forward. It's 100 per cent right that rugby is acknowledging the anti-racism movement. I completely agree with that," he said.

"Whether boys kneeled or didn't kneel was nothing we discussed before the game, it was completely down to personal preference. Anyone who kneeled I would back 100 per cent and anyone who stood I would do the same."