Millwall fans 'completely wrong' to boo players taking the knee
James Cleverly condemned football supporters booing players who take the knee
Conservative government minister James Cleverly said the scenes at Millwall's ground this weekend were "completely wrong."
Before the game kicked off players took the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, a large number of the 2,000 Millwall fans present could be heard booing.
Over the weekend other members of the government would not condemn the move, and the Millwall supporters club denied that booing the anti-racist gesture was racist.
James Cleverly told LBC: "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.
"I'm totally comfortable saying that but I also do think we that we should recognise there is a longstanding, preexisting organisation that's been fighting racism in football, they don't get the kind of coverage I think they deserve.
"And I actually I think three are some, some, within the BLM movement who are pushing a very extreme political agenda.
"Certainly not all and I don't believe for a second that any of the players on the pitch were reflecting that but I do think that the booing was wrong."
Conservative MP James Cleverly says it was "wrong" after Millwall fans booed players taking a knee before their game against Derby County on Saturday.@NickFerrariLBC | @JamesCleverly pic.twitter.com/lozwVHFBQG
— LBC (@LBC) December 7, 2020
That's a progression on environment secretary George Eustice's remarks on Sunday to Sky News, when the cabinet minister failed to condemn the booing.
Eustice said he hadn't seen the incident and that "the issue of race and racial discrimination is something that we all take very very seriously."
He added: "My personal view is that Black Lives Matter, capital B, L and M, is actually a political movement that is different to what most of us believe in, which is standing up for racial equality.
"Each individual can take their own choices about how they reflect this and I know a number of people feel quite strongly and have taken that approach."
Millwall's Mahlon Romeo speaks out against the club's fans who booed the anti-racist gesture of taking the knee before kick off.
At Millwall's stadium, The Den, fans were pitchside for the first time since February 29 and watched their team lose to Derby 1-0.
After the game Derby manager Wayne Rooney said: "Yesterday I witnessed disgraceful and mindless behaviour by a large section of Millwall supporters in the stadium.
"I was proud of my players and staff for not letting the fans deter them from continuing to present a positive and important message that taking the knee immediately before a game sends.
"The professionalism of the players on both sides throughout the game was a credit to our profession, after such an incident."
But Gary Rowett, Millwall's manager reacted differently. Instead announcing that his players would no longer take the knee before games.
Rowett said his Millwall players would no longer take the knee.
“Moving forward, like a lot of clubs have done, they’d prefer not to take the knee and enact change – do something positively about it. They feel that gesture has been empty and not doing something about it.”
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) December 5, 2020