Millwall Supporters Club claim booing of anti-racist gesture was not racist
"It is within our Millwall DNA to make The Den a hostile environment for the opposition players, not our own."
Millwall Supports' Club have issued a statement addressing the scenes that marred their 1-0 loss to Derby County on Saturday.
Before the game kicked off, players took the knee in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, or as football's governing bodies would prefer to say, the No Room For Racism campaign.
2,000 Millwall fans were in the stadium for the game, and a large number of them could be heard booing as players took a knee.
The club issued a statement 19 hours after the event, and on Sunday afternoon the club's official supporters' group also addressed the issue.
"We fervently believe that the motives of those behind the booing were not racist. However, at a time of heightened awareness and with the country watching, the choice of those individuals was always going to damage their club and be perceived by the media as racist," the statement reads.
"The greatest thing it highlighted is the need for clarity and understanding on both sides of this divide.
"Anyone who believes it was a racist act, should read the views of those who booed and see they were doing it in reaction to the war memorials and statues of Churchill defaced by the BLM organisation and the extreme political views they hold, and for which ‘taking the knee’ is associated with.
"These same fans have never booed the Kick it Out campaigns on our pitch or the huge work of the Millwall Community Trust and its many anti-racism campaigns.
"Equally, anyone who booed in the ground yesterday should read the views of Mahlon Romeo and those of the Millwall players released on Friday. They chose to ‘take the knee’ to highlight the need for more anti-discrimination work and action, something Millwall has always been at the forefront of through our community work.
"They explicitly did not use it to support any political viewpoint or organisation and therefore the booing shows disagreement with anti-discrimination."
📑 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗧 - Derby County
Please read the attached statement from the official supporters’ club of #Millwall FC.
You can access it also via our website here ⬇️https://t.co/G9iGw35apO pic.twitter.com/NUIj5LCQUs
— Millwall Supporters’ Club (@TheMillwallFans) December 6, 2020
The statement then goes on to cite QPR's Director of Football, Les Ferdinand, saying that the gesture has lost its meaning as somehow relevant to fans aggressively booing it.
"It is within our Millwall DNA to make The Den a hostile environment for the opposition players, not our own," the statement continues.
"We never want that to be sanitised or taken away as it is what makes us unique. But… if you are unable to create a hostile atmosphere at The Den without resorting to racist, homophobic or other discriminatory language or actions then you should make the decision not to attend."
It then calls on the club to make fans sign a charter agreeing not to engage in behaviour that jeopardises "the safety and enjoyment of others or is likely to bring disrepute to the Club."
Millwall player Mahlon Romeo criticised the actions of the fans who booed after the game against Derby, saying everyone who did it had disrespected him and everyone at the club.
Millwall's Mahlon Romeo speaks out against the club's fans who booed the anti-racist gesture of taking the knee before kick off.