Millwall fans were heard booing football players taking a knee at the start their Championship match on Saturday against Derby.
The custom of taking the knee stems from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the U.S. national anthem. This was adopted in sport worldwide in the summer of 2020, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Millwall booing the knee😐 pic.twitter.com/v3qfXRmf0Z
— Oliver⚒🎄 (@HammerzOliver) December 5, 2020
Held at Derby’s football ground, the stadium was able to host 2,000 fans for the first time this season after the second national lockdown was lifted on 2nd December. Derby managed to win the game 1-0, but this was unfortunately overshadowed by the incident at the start of the game.
Interim manager Wayne Rooney condemned this behaviour:
“To hear that is very disappointing and upsetting for a lot of people. I’m pleased with how my team dealt with that. They’ve had to put that to the back of their minds for the 90 minutes but I’m sure it’s something they were thinking about.”
Other associations, including the FA and anti-discrimination body Kick It Out have also condemned the booing. Derby forward Colin Kazim-Richards described the incident as “an absolute disgrace”.
But having to say this is a pain but I’ll say it every single damn time this is why I STAND and STAND PROUD and I have to say every single person involved with @dcfcofficial did too made me proud to wear this shirt with the boys today!!! Absolute disgrace.. pic.twitter.com/lVsdb1KUpa
— Colin Kazim-Richards (@ColinKazim) December 5, 2020
Former Manchester City player Micah Richards gave his thoughts on the incident:
“It is so disheartening because it is like we have come so far but we have so far to go. I don’t even like talking about the matter. It feels like it falls on deaf ears. It is time and time and time again.”
The incident follows the resignation of FA Chairman Greg Clarke last month, after his use of unacceptable language to talk about black football players.
To echo Richards’ thoughts – when it come’s to racial equality, it certainly seems like football has a long way to go.