Burnley captain Ben Mee is ‘ashamed and embarrassed’ over a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night during the Clarets’ Premier League clash with Manchester City.
The opening rounds of Premier League football since the season was restarted have seen clubs and players take a stand against racism in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Names on the back of shirts have been replaced by Black Lives Matter for the opening 12 games, while players have also taken a knee in a show of solidarity prior to kick-offs.
The plane flew overhead at the Etihad just moments after the players had done so in Manchester.
“We as a group of players condemn it, we're ashamed, we're embarrassed,” Mee told BBC Radio 5 Live after the final whistle. “Fans like that don't deserve to be around football.
“It's a minority of our supporters, I know I speak for a massive part of our support who distance ourselves from anything like that. It definitely had a massive impact on us to see that in the sky.
“We were embarrassed, disappointed, upset. We are embarrassed that our name was in it. That they tried to attach it to our club. It doesn't belong anywhere near our club.”
In separate post-game comments, Mee explained, “I’m ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that around the stadium. They’ve completely missed the point [of Black Lives Matter] and the group of lads in [the dressing room] are embarrassed to see that and it’s not what we’re about at all.
“It’s missed the point of the whole thing we’re trying to achieve and I think these people [who are responsible for the banner] need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves as a lot of us do. It does not represent what the club is about, what the players are about, what the majority of the fans are about.”
Burnley have released a statement apologising ‘unreservedly’ to the Premier League, Manchester City and anyone helping to promote Black Lives Matter.
“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,” it read.
“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.”