Sky, the Comcast-owned pay-TV operator in the United Kingdom, has come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after it emerged that U.K. public service broadcaster the BBC had ruled that presenters and guests would not be allowed to wear Black Lives Matter badges on air.
“Sky Sports is committed to doing more to tackle racism, highlight racial injustice and support communities impacted by racism,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “Our support is for the moral cause and campaign, that Black Lives Matter, rather than for any political organization.”
The Premier League soccer tournament has been a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter, though Crystal Palace became the first team to publicly distance themselves from it after the movement’s U.K. branch issued a few political statements.
“We support the Premier League, its clubs and players who are making a powerful collective statement, that Black lives matter and there is no room for racism,” said the Sky statement. “Sky has made a number of commitments to tackle racial injustice and support anti-racism. As part of this, some of our pundits have chosen to wear Black Lives Matter badges on air and others are choosing to support the anti-racism cause in many other ways.”
Sky Sports will broadcast the West Indies vs. England cricket series being played in the U.K. on July 8, during which players of both teams will sport Black Lives Matter logos on their shirts.
“The BBC cannot be seen to support any kind of cause over another, and Black Lives Matter is certainly a campaign,” a senior BBC source told The Daily Telegraph newspaper. “Therefore we wouldn’t want anyone on-screen to be wearing visual symbols of support. Our presenters and guests can discuss Black Lives Matter, and we’ve reported on it in depth. We’re not impartial about racism. But wearing badges on screen – just as with any other campaign – would be a step too far.”
A BBC spokesperson told The Independent newspaper, “It is long established that BBC broadcasters and journalists don’t tend to wear campaign insignia and badges, and absolutely nothing about that principle has changed.”