Colchester tell fans who booed anti-racist protest to 'stay away from our club' 1 year ago

Colchester tell fans who booed anti-racist protest to 'stay away from our club'

Boos were heard ahead of Colchester's home game against Grimsby

Colchester United have today released a statement condemning the behaviour of supporters who booed players that engaged in anti-racist protests prior to their match against Grimsby Town on Saturday.

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The boos were heard around the JobServe Community Stadium before kick-off, and at the time the team's Twitter account was quick to condemn the behaviour. The club's statement, released on Monday morning, goes even further in its condemnation.

Speaking on the club's official website, chairman Robbie Cowling reiterated the club's support for players and staff taking a knee in solidarity with racial equality, and urged all fans who boo such peaceful protests to 'stay away' from the club's matches.

"Our club supports the players and their choice to take the knee for a few seconds before every game," said Cowling.

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"(Colchester winger) Callum Harriot described the purpose of the gesture perfectly to me explaining that taking the knee dates back to early civil rights movements as a way of silently showing solidarity in support of political inequalities suffered by oppressed communities.

"Those that take the knee want to highlight that all lives should be valued and should not be treated inhumanely or inferior to others just because of their race.

"It is undeniable that black and other ethnic minority people are still the victims of racism, and the black footballers and staff at Colchester United feel that they are in a position of privilege that has been fought for through the blood and sweat of their ancestors.

"A position that in 2020 the average black person is still not afforded.

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"Those taking the knee, and supporting the taking of the knee, not only shows their willingness to support the drive to eradicate racial oppression but force it to be a talking point even when it’s uncomfortable."

Cowling then pledged the club's support to the cause, and advised

He said: "Undeniably, taking the knee is a fundamental catalyst in pushing the conversation and thus the necessary changes forward.

"I’m sure the vast majority of Colchester United fans are supportive and want to play their part in showing they back the actions of our players.

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"Maybe those that booed on Saturday might now understand what this gesture means to our club and will at the very least remain silent during future games whilst the players continue to take the knee before each kick-off.

"Alternatively, they should just stay away from our club because anyone that still wants to boo now that I have explained the purpose and importance of the taking of the knee is not welcome at our club."

Colchester's statement comes after Millwall, a club whose supporters also booed their own players' anti-racist protests at the weekend, released one of their own in which the club said it "was dismayed and saddened by events which marred Saturday’s game against Derby County".

A statement by Millwall's Supporter's Club, however, failed to acknowledge the racist nature of the boos.

"We fervently believe that the motives of those behind the booing were not racist," read the misguided statement.

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