'Completely wrong' for football fans to boo players taking a knee, James Cleverly says

7 December 2020, 08:38

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

After Millwall fans booed players taking a knee before their game against Derby County on Saturday, Conservative MP James Cleverly said it was "wrong" to boo the footballers.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari the Minister said "it is wrong for the football fans to boo the players, those players were acting in a way that demonstrates a solidarity with those people fighting racism and those who have been victims of racism.

"And booing that is completely wrong."

Mr Cleverly added that football has a longstanding organisation dedicated to fighting racism in the sport, Kick Racism Out Of Football, which he said he did not think got the kind of coverage they deserve.

He said there were "some within the BLM movement who are pushing a very extreme political agenda."

He told Nick that people should feel free to take a knee if they wanted to, but said nobody should feel "bullied or intimidated" into taking the knee.

The Minister said he did not personally take the knee, "so going down on one knee or putting a badge on your football shirt is visible, and easy, but on its own won't do it."

Millwall v Derby County fans booed as players took a knee
Millwall v Derby County fans booed as players took a knee. Picture: Getty

Supporters were back at Millwall on Saturday for the first time since February 29, with London placed in tier two of the current system of coronavirus restrictions, but it was the actions of some spectators which took centre stage ahead of the 3pm kick-off against the Rams.

Some of the 2,000 home crowd booed when players from both sides took a knee ahead of kick-off and, in a statement on Twitter, interim Rams manager Rooney said: "Yesterday I witnessed disgraceful and mindless behaviour by a large section of the Millwall supporters in the stadium.

"We were aware of the possibility of a disruptive response during the taking of the knee in support of (Black Lives Matter) but nothing prepared us for what we heard.

"It is really important that the vast majority of us show respect and support of each other and do not tolerate or accept the actions of the mindless few."