Burnley captain Ben Mee says he is “ashamed” and “embarrassed”; MNF pundit Micah Richards adds: “It goes deeper than just a plane, I’d like to get deeper to the root of the problem to make real change because that was absolutely disgusting”
Burnley have issued a strongly-worded condemnation after an offensive banner which read ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was flown over the Etihad Stadium during their game with Manchester City.
The incident occurred shortly after kick-off on Monday Night Football.
It is not yet known who flew the plane or who commissioned the banner.
In a statement released at half-time, Burnley said: “Burnley Football Club strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner that flew over the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening.
“We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.
“This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans.
“The club has a proud record of working with all genders, religions and faiths through its award-winning Community scheme, and stands against racism of any kind.
“We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative and, in line with all other Premier League games undertaken since Project Restart, our players and football staff willingly took the knee at kick-off at Manchester City.
“We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”
Burnley lost the game 5-0 to Man City.
Clarets manager Sean Dyche, who did not see the plane at the time, was also disappointed about the incident.
Dyche said: “As a club we can only apologise. It is unacceptable.”
Burnley captain Mee: I’m ashamed and embarrassed
“I’m ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that around the stadium,” Burnley captain Ben Mee said post-match on Monday Night Football.
“They’ve completely missed the point. The lads are embarrassed to see that. It’s not what we’re about. They’ve completely missed the point about the whole thing we’re trying to achieve.
“These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves. It does not represent what we’re about, the club’s about, 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 has happened.”
“As we were coming out. We heard some whispers it was going to happen. The club tried to stop it but I’ve heard it’s a small number of people that have arranged this.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again. Like I said, I am ashamed and upset that this is associated with our club, my club, and it’s not something we want to see in the game at all.
“It’s not right. I totally condemn it. Like I said, I am embarrassed by it. It misses the whole point of everything, hopefully these people can learn about what the Black Lives Matters movement is trying to achieve.
“We went equality in society and in football, whether that be (in terms of) race, religion, gender or the LGBTQ community. The players all want to make a stand against these things and make a stand for minorities.”
Micah Richards: Why do people feel this way?
Reflecting on the incident after the game, Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester City defender Micah Richards said he simply has no idea why the people behind the banner stunt felt it was necessary.
“A lot of people say all this [racial abuse]happens in America, it doesn’t happen in England – well it’s proof today that, and I know it’s a small minority, but they do feel like that.
“I don’t want to fight fire with fire. I want to educate people. I would love to know why do they feel this way, I would love for them to explain to me why do they feel this way because I’ve been brought up around a lot of black people, a lot of white people.
“I’m genuine in my heart, so I don’t understand why people actually feel this way. Until we understand why then nothing’s going to change.
“We can wear t-shirts, we can do Black Lives Matter protests and slowly we’re getting better but it just shows you today that although it’s a small minority, it’s still happening.”
Richards added: “It goes deeper than just a plane, I’d like to get deeper to the root of the problem to make real change because today that was absolutely disgusting.”