Football

Micah Richards sends passionate message to people behind ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ banner


The banner was flown during the Manchester City vs Burnley game (Picture: Getty Images)

Micah Richards sent a passionate message to the people behind the ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ banner on Monday night, asking to speak to the organisers and try to understand their motivation.

The banner was pulled by a plane ahead of the Manchester City vs Burnley match at the Etihad on Monday night, which City comfortably won 5-0.

It has been condemned by Burnley Football Club, and by their captain, Ben Mee, who produced an impressive speech on the matter after the final whistle.

Former Manchester City defender Richards was covering the match for Sky Sports and feels that both sides of the argument must come together to understand their reasoning and hopefully enact real change.

‘I was fortunate enough to play with Ben Mee in the academy and he’s always been a nice lad,’ Richards told Sky Sports. ‘He spoke from the heart then and that’s all you can ask him to do.

‘Obviously, Burnley have come out and condemned it, but it just shows you – I speak to a lot of people who say, “all that stuff happens in America, it doesn’t happen in England”.

‘It’s proof today that – I know that 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 like to see them, speak to them and ask them why do you feel this way? Explain to me why you feel this way?

‘I don’t understand why people feel this way. Until we understand the 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 today, that although it’s a small minority, it’s still happening.

‘I agree, everyone should have free speech, but just at a time when things are on the up, a small fraction just want to spoil things. It was very disheartening to see.

‘You don’t want to make a massive thing about that when we’ve got something so positive going on as well.

‘I’d like to think it was a small percentage, but yeah, it was disheartening to see.’

A club statement on the banner read: ‘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.’

MORE: ‘I’m ashamed & embarrassed’: Ben Mee slams Burnley fans behind White Lives Matter message

MORE: Plane carrying ‘White Lives Matter’ message flies over the Etihad moments after Man City & Burnley players take a knee

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