John Barnes' message to fans booing BLM: 'Keep your mouth shut, support your team'

6 December 2020, 09:56 | Updated: 6 December 2020, 16:17

By Seán Hickey

Ex-footballer John Barnes tells football fans who disagree with footballers taking the knee to 'keep their mouths shut' if they disagree with the message.

Former Liverpool player John Barnes was reflecting on events in The Den on Saturday afternoon when Millwall fans booed footballers who kneeled in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

"As far as I'm concerned it's about anti-discrimination, it's about equality," he told Andrew Castle. Mr Barnes made the point that the political motivations of the Black Lives Matter organisation are not being considered by players when supporting the anti-racism cause.

"I don't think any footballer takes the knee in support of defunding the police," he argued.

The former Celtic manager noted that those in the stands "aren't just football fans...they are normal human beings who have a perception," and we must look at the reasoning those people had for booing the footballers.

"It's a little bit more nuanced than anti-discrimination." Mr Barnes added that "if they don't like it, keep your mouth shut," and respect the point of view of the players on the pitch.

Millwall fans could be heard booing players who took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement
Millwall fans could be heard booing players who took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: Getty

"For me black lives matter is about exactly what it says, about equality for all," the ex-footballer insisted.

Andrew argued that it could be seen that "some people just don't like being told what to think, what to say," and these fans in the stands were pushing back against having an ideology pushed on them.

"They're not asking fans to do anything," Mr Barnes clapped back: "If you don't agree with what footballers are doing, keep your mouth shut."

The ex-footballer concluded with a message to fans booing players taking the knee: "Keep your mouth shut, support your team."