Football fans were heard booing as players “took the knee” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
At a Millwall football match, fans were very displeased (with one shouting “get up”) after players on both sides “took the knee” and in some cases raised their fist, in support of the global Black Lives Matter movement.
This has led to the FA and specific players branding these fans an “absolute disgrace” and stating that it “strongly condemns” those who took part in this action.
The match against Derby was the first that supporters (numbering around 2,000) were able to watch from the stands since the original lockdown began in late March.
The FA also said in a statement: “The FA supports all players and staff that wish to take a stand against discrimination in a respectful manner, which includes taking the knee, and strongly condemns the behaviours of any spectators that actively voice their opposition to such activities.”
Millwall players have said they will continue with their actions. The team’s boss, Gary Rowett, stated how disappointed he was over the situation.
He added: “is it a political message, is it an antidiscrimination message?”
Millwall manager Gary Rowett was disappointed that fans booed when players from both clubs took a knee ahead of the match against Derby but also stressed that Millwall as a club have done a lot of work to campaign against racism.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 5, 2020
“The players have come out and said they don’t support the political aspect, but they do support the anti-discrimination aspect of it and of course we all do.”
Many former players have condemed the fans, including Gary Linekar, John Barnes, Trevor Sinclair and Marcus Bean.
However, two Tory MPs took somewhat of a different view, appearing to side with the fans.
George Eustice said: “My personal view is that Black Lives Matter – capitals, B-L-M – is actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in, which is standing up for racial equality.
“But each individual can take their own choices about how they reflect this, and I know a number of people feel quite strongly and have taken that approach.”
The MP also did not dispute that there had been problem with racism in football in the past, although adding that the way people express their views should “always be respected”.
Ben Bradley has also commented on the situation, saying: “I always said taking the knee has only been allowed to go on this long because the fans weren’t allowed to call it out. After the response from Millwall’s fans last night, hopefully we’ll see the end of football players kneeing to this divisive Marxist organisation.”