During Burnley’s match against Manchester City on Monday, an airplane flew above Etihad stadium displaying a banner that read ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ and authorities are investigating.
Both teams and staff had taken a knee to support the Black Lives Matter campaign moments earlier, so how does Burnley feel, and how do they explain the little show that was put up in the air in their name?
Burnley defender Ben Mee spoke on BBC Radio 5 live, he expressed great concern over the issue and had said the team as a whole are ashamed and embarrassed, he made it clear that fans who pull stunts like that do not deserve to be around football. “We are embarrassed that our the name was in it, that they tried to attach it to our club – it doesn’t belong anywhere to our club.”
He also went on to explain in a statement that the banner does not represent what the club stands for, and they are working together with authorities to bring down those responsible for that inappropriate action.
Burnley has apologized to the Premier League
Burnley has apologized to the premier league, Manchester City, and all those who are helping to promote the Black Lives Matter movement. “The Club has a proud record of working with all genders, religion, and faith through its award-winning community schemes and stands against racism of any kind, we are fully behind the premier leagues Black Lives Matter initiative, and in line with all other premier league games undertaken since the project restarted, our players and football staff willingly took the knew at kick-off at Manchester City.”
The club indeed took a knee with Manchester and even wore jerseys that bore Black Lives Matter at their backs.
Authorities are currently eyeing Air Ads, and they are responsible for making and flying banners over stadiums in the past.
BBC sports contacted the company, and a man who wishes to be anonymous said he was packing away the banners. He claimed the banner was legal and did not use coarse language. He also claimed the company had initially done a Black Lives Matter banner, and besides, they had already gotten the green light from the police before acting.
The airport named is Blackpool airport, and their manager has come out to say how the airport and its council are outraged by the incident. “We stand against racism of any kind and do not condone the activity. The message was offensive and the action reprehensible”.
A Burnley support associated with the former English Defense League Robinson Tommy claimed responsibility for the incident on social media. Jake Hepple is his name. He claimed he has arranged the show and later posted a video of it on social media and caption it “I’d like to apologize to absolutely F****ing nobody! It’s now apparently racist to say White Lives Matter (the day after three white people got murdered in a park in Reading, but all we’ve seen on the tell is Black Lives Matter after George Floyd got murdered) what a mad world we live in.
Investigations are still ongoing
The police are still investigating if the action was a crime or not. “We are making inquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident, and we will then be in a position to assess as to whether any criminals offenses have taken place,” says the chief Supt Russ Procter of Lancashire Police
“We recognize that this banner will have offended many people in Lancashire and beyond, and we continue to liaise closely with our partners at both the club and in the local authority,” he added.
Equality officer for the Professional Football Association Iffy Onuora hopes the widespread condemnation of the banner would act as a catalyst that would breed further conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement.
For someone like Hepple to pull such an irresponsible stunt is not very common, he needs to be taken into custody and questioned, even though he seemed to have given a reason for his actions, he still needs to explain why he added Burnley to his sentence.
Hepple seems to be misunderstanding the whole movement, and he is having the misconception that Black Lives Matter means white lives don’t, according to Mike Wedderburn, the Black Lives Matter movement is a cry for help and not an attack on White people.