Knees and me go back a long way. I know a lot about them having been born with a couple of problematic knees, one of which has already been replaced and the other heading that way – along with a couple of hips.

It seems that a few Scotland players had some knee trouble at the weekend. They didn’t ‘take the knee’ before their glorious victory over England, and of course that allowed certain members of the media and many more instant pundits on social media to virtually accuse them of racism.

Taking the knee, as I have seen it done, is a form of genuflection, and I did plenty of that as an altar boy – I blame that and bad knee genes for the cartilage and ligament problems I suffered which included missing two whole seasons of my playing career, such as it was.

The only person I genuflected to as a youngster was God, and some bishops and priests – even the Pope on one occasion. I have never knowingly genuflected since then, and I would never ‘take the knee’ nowadays for one simple reason – I am not sure I would be able to get back up.

I understand, however, why sports people and others take the knee. It has become symbolic of resistance to racism, and as such it is a useful and highly obvious gesture to get over the message that racism has no place in sport or anywhere on this planet, frankly. As I will show, that is not how taking the knee started off, but the gesture has been transformed into a universal code for opposing racism.

Yet I will defend utterly the right of players not to take the knee. Consider what happened on Saturday – before the Calcutta Cup, the starting XVs were asked to join in a tribute to coronavirus victims and Captain Sir Tom Moore, and they duly obliged with a round of applause.

Now I am not for one second going to slag off the Captain, a truly brave man who did wonderful things, yet I know I am not alone in being uneasy about the way his achievements were hijacked for political ends – Boris Johnson and that six o’clock clap, for instance. On this occasion, the RFU blended the tribute with commemoration of former internationalists who have died, so the applause was appropriate.

It’s the same with the poppy. I have no time at all for those who do not observe Remembrance Sunday. It is right that we remember those who died in the world wars and other conflicts and acknowledge their sacrifice so we can live in freedom. But that freedom also means that people do not have to wear the poppy if they don’t want to, and again it is a symbol that has been hijacked for political ends.

So it is with taking the knee. It developed from a spontaneous gesture by a black American footballer Colin Kaepernick who took the knee during the playing of the national anthem in a pre-season match in 2016. He made it clear he was against police brutality against black people, and racism in general.

It caught on, and went political, so to speak, when then President Donald Trump tried to have players taking the knee sacked. Like much of his presidency, his outspokenness backfired, and taking the knee became an international cause with Black Lives Matter bringing it to the fore after the police killing of George Floyd.

On Saturday, the two squads were asked to join in a moment of reflection about racism. On the television screens it said ‘racism is not acceptable in rugby, in sport or the world we live in.’ I have it on very good authority that the Scottish Rugby Union decided quite some time ago never to impose taking the knee on the squad, or stop players doing it, and that’s why four genuflected and the rest didn’t. I’m certain none of the Scotland team are racist or anything like it, but what people think about opposing racism is entirely up to them.

Agreeing with the SRU is not something I often do, but on this occasion they were absolutely right. As Gregor Townsend and the players emphasised, it was put down to personal choice, and that is the way it should be. For if the Scottish players had been dragooned into taking the knee, or not, there would have been much greater protests and the squad might have divided over that.

As it was, by allowing individual participation in taking the knee, the squad remained united, and they duly went on to batter a poor England team in a fantastic display of team cohesion.

If there’s a moment of reflection about racism on Saturday before Scotland play Wales, I hope the starting XV splits again on whether or not to take the knee. For it will show that we have a squad of individuals who think about things, and it’s going to take intelligence above all to win this tournament.