The booing of protests against racial inequality at Millwall this weekend should not be brushed under the carpet or treated without introspection by the club…
Another dispiriting and damaging incident greeted us this weekend after Millwall fans booed the ‘No Room For Racism’ protest before their game against Derby.
Both sets of players took the knee, as most teams have done since the return from lockdown last season, but this being the first time that fans have been in to witness it, perhaps it was inevitable there was going to be some sort of adverse reaction.
Similar incidents occurred at Colchester and West Ham, but it was most prominent at The Den, and was tacitly endorsed by cabinet minister George Eustice who said he was not going to condemn those fans because Black Lives Matter should be viewed as a political movement.
It seems a minor point to make that while ‘taking the knee’ was accompanied by support for BLM last season, it is both no longer associated with it at football grounds and doesn’t have its roots in the movement.
And that’s even before you discuss the separation between the statement ‘black lives matter’ and the organised movement under that name.
Daniel Storey talked about the issue on The Totally Football Show this week:
“It’s disappointing firstly because Millwall as a club try to rid themselves of this reputation by doing an enormous amount fo community work. But the reality is that this is not just a minority – it’s quite easy to say this was just a few fans spoiling it for the majority – it wasn’t that. You could hear – this was more visceral, there weren’t that many fans in the stadium.
“It’s hugely disappointing because to me booing anyone protesting racism and systemic inequality in society is a racist message and a racist action.
“This notion that there were some Millwall fans who were making some quasi-philosophical or political point about anti-Marxism is nonsense.
“It’s a very easy line because it allows people to avoid investigation, and on Millwall’s part introspection. I hope Millwall don’t avoid that, I hope they don’t take that easy way out, and I hope the statement they do make is swiftly followed by investigation.
“If it’s not, that stereotype about Millwall fans will exist for a reason, sadly.”
James Richardson added:
“Equally damaging is the fact a member of the government is busy enabling their action by saying “no room for racism” is a political opinion. I think we all know what we think about that.”
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