Ben Mee is “ashamed and embarrassed” by the ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ banner that was flown over the Etihad Stadium during the Clarets’ Premier League defeat to Manchester City. The light aircraft could be overhead on television after the players took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Speaking after the final whistle, Burnley skipper Mee told the perpetrators to “educate themselves”.
“It was a tough night. We can talk about football but there is something I would like to speak about first and that is the plane and banner flying over the stadium,” he said.
“I am ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to fly that around the stadium. It is not what we are about.
“They have missed what we are trying to achieve. These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves.
“They don’t represent what we are about, the club is about, the players are about and the majority of fans are about.
“We heard some whispers that it was about to happen. The club tried to stop it.
“I’ve heard it is a small number that have arranged this and I hope it doesn’t happen again. I don’t want to associate it with my cub. I don’t want to see this in the game.
“It is not right. We totally condemn it. These people can learn and be taught what Black Lives Matter is trying to achieve,
“The players have pulled together and this is what we want, what the majority of fans want – equality in society and in football, everything, be it race, religion, gender, LGBTQ community.
“The players have pulled together and we want to make a stand against this for all minorities.
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Premier League players and clubs have been supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Every match to date since the restart has seen players take a knee after the first whistle, names on shirts have been replaced by the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ while a BLM logo also features on the right sleeve.
Burnley condemned the plane sign and issued a statement during the first half of Monday night’s clash.
“Burnley Football Club strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner that flew over The Etihad Stadium on Monday evening,” it read.
“We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.
“This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and take appropriate action.
“The club has a proud record of working with all genders, religions and faiths through its award-winning Community scheme, and stands against racism of any kind.
“We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative and, in line with all other Premier League games undertaken since Project Restart, our players and football staff willingly took the knee at kick-off at Manchester City.
“We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”
Former City defender Micah Richards was at the Emirates Stadium on punditry duty for Sky Sports.
He said: “It’s so disheartening. After how far we’ve come in these last couple of weeks it really does hurt me.
“I agree everyone should have free speech but when it looked like everything was on the up there’s a small fraction who want to ruin it. I don’t want to make a big thing of it and I’d like to hope it’s a small percentage.
“It’s so disheartening. After how far we’ve come in these last couple of weeks it really does hurt me.”
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Published at Mon, 22 Jun 2020 21:31:00 +0000