Gary Rowett, Millwall’s boss, has asked football to “find a better method of unifying people than kneeling after Fulham players made the gesture at The Den.
Fulham’s players knelt ahead of the Championship match, while Millwall’s chose to stand ahead of kick-off – some with a fist in the air as a show of solidarity.
Boos could be heard as the players made the gesture. Rowett feels that football authorities should find “more positive ways” to tackle the problem of racism and discrimination.
“If you look up and down the country, there are so many football clubs that do such good work in their communities around equality and anti-racism,” Rowett said after the match, which ended in a 2-1 win for Fulham.
“What’s needed right now is for the authorities to assist clubs and to find better ways to unite people.
I don’t wish to make any comments on the individual decisions of people, but it is important to unite people. At the moment, 20 to 30 seconds per game are causing so much division and rift in football.
“Football has a wonderful spectacle and we are all blessed to have the opportunity to share it. It can help people and do great work behind-the scenes. This is not our club. There are many clubs that do this. We need your help in finding a positive approach to taking action.
Millwall stopped kneeling before matches in the last season, after being booed and criticized by supporters.
Millwall, instead, decided to launch their own anti-racism campaign before the games. They asked each team to come along and join them, displaying an anti-racism banner and linking arms.
Jobi McAnuff, a former Leyton Orient player manager says he was disappointed Rowett didn’t condemn those who booed before kick-off Tuesday.
I don’t believe we could be clearer about the message behind taking a knee or what it means. It is the fight against discrimination and racism. “It’s so simple,” McAnuff stated to Sky Sports.
It’s an act of defiance when someone tweets or shouts racist abuse at another person. This football team’s fans have decided to heckle the players for taking a knee.
“There’s only one explanation for me: they oppose equality. That’s it.
You might be the manager of a club football team and you may not have control over what fans do when they arrive. As the figurehead, you have the power to condemn the fan in the most severe terms.
That is exactly what I’d have loved to see. This is the reason I am disappointed.
Sky Sports News has reached out to Millwall with a comment.
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Publiated at Tue 17 August 2021 23.23:01 +0000