You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Burnley's Ben Mee ashamed of 'White Lives Matter’ banner flown over Etihad

The Guardian logo The Guardian 22/06/2020 Andy Hunter
Photograph: Shaun Botterill/AFP/Getty Images © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Shaun Botterill/AFP/Getty Images

Burnley’s captain, Ben Mee, said he felt ashamed and embarrassed of supporters who organised a banner displaying the words “White Lives Matter Burnley” to be flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday. Burnley have vowed to issue lifetime bans to those responsible for the offensive stunt.

The plane flew over Manchester City’s stadium shortly after the players, coaching staff and match officials had taken the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Burnley swiftly issued a statement that apologised “unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter”.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Burnley - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - June 22, 2020 Burnley's Ben Mee looks dejected with teammates after the match. Play resumed behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Martin Rickett/Pool via REUTERS  EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Burnley - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - June 22, 2020 Burnley's Ben Mee looks dejected with teammates after the match. Play resumed behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Martin Rickett/Pool via REUTERS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details. After the game, which ended in a comprehensive 5-0 victory for City, Mee delivered his own powerful condemnation. In an interview with Sky the defender said: “I’m ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that around the stadium. There are a group of lads that are in there embarrassed to see that. It’s missed the whole point of what we’re trying to achieve and these people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves as a lot of us do.

“It doesn’t represent what we’re about, what the club is about, what the players are about and what the majority of the fans are about. It’s a small minority of people and I’m really upset that it happened. As we were coming out we heard some whispers it was going to happen. The club tried to stop it.”

The Burnley manager, Sean Dyche, said: “I don’t think you can judge the whole club or town on that but it is unacceptable.”

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Burnley - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - June 22, 2020 Burnley's Ben Mee concedes a penalty against Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Shaun Botterill/Pool via REUTERS  EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Burnley - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - June 22, 2020 Burnley's Ben Mee concedes a penalty against Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Shaun Botterill/Pool via REUTERS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details. Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola added: “Of course white lives matter but black lives matter too. Human beings matter. Everyone, we are the same. Every day we have to fight not just for this situation but for all the injustice around the world. It starts with the schools, for the new generations to understand we are equal and the education will save us.”

Fare, the European equality body that works with Uefa and Fifa, condemned the stunt. “The racist backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement across Europe is a trend we have seen and documented,” said Piara Powar, Fare’s executive director. “Set against the BLM message of equal rights ‘White Lives Matter’ can only be motivated by racism and a denial of equal rights. It shows exactly why the fight for equality is so important and why the majority of people have supported it.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City battles for possession with Ben Mee of Burnley during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020 in Manchester, England. Football stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venus resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images) © 2020 Manchester City FC MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City battles for possession with Ben Mee of Burnley during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020 in Manchester, England. Football stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venus resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images) The shameful episode detracted from an outstanding man of the match display from Phil Foden, who started and finished the rout that ensured Liverpool cannot win the title at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday. “In the next decade to 15 years Phil will be an outstanding player for us,” Guardiola said. “I don’t have doubts.” 

Guardiola said he expects Sergio Agüero to be sidelined for several weeks, and possibly for the remainder of the Premier League campaign, after aggravating a knee injury. The striker will discover the extent of his injury on Tuesday but Guardiola said: “It doesn’t look good for this season.”

MORE SPORTS:

Carra on key Liverpool transfer (Football365)

Keane not an ‘incisive’ analyst (Extra.ie)

Nascar investigating noose found in star driver's garage (The New York Times)

Jose Mourinho fires back at Paul Merson (Independent)

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Guardian

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon