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Burnley captain Ben Mee has strongly criticised the actions of a “small minority” of fans who conspired to fly a plane bearing a ‘white lives matter’ message above the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.
Mee’s side faced Manchester City in the Premier League and the banner was timed to fly above the ground at the moment the two teams emerged for kick-off, when sides have been showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
City won the match 5-0 but, post-game, the focus was on what on above the pitch rather than on it.
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Burnley were quick to condemn those responsible for the banner and distance themselves from the message, but Mee went a step further in his post-match interview.
Opting against discussing the opening question on Sky Sports regarding the match itself, Mee instead addressed the actions and attitudes of those who flew the banner and insisted they needed to bring their thought processes and values into the modern age.
“We can talk about football, but there’s something I want to speak about first,” Mee said.
“The airplane that went out before the game – I’m ashamed and embarrassed that a small number of our fans have decided to put that out.
“They’ve completely missed the point. A group of lads in there are embarrassed to see it. It’s not what we’re about at all and it misses the point of what we’re trying to achieve.
“These people need to come into the 21st century and educate themselves, as a lot of us do.
“It does not represent what we’re about, the players or the club are about or what the majority of fans are about for sure. It’s a small minority of people and I’m very upset that it happened.”
Mee revealed that the players found out about the plane just ahead of kick-off and that the club tried to put a stop to it, having received word the plans were afoot.
Reiterating that the banner had entirely “missed the point” of what the Premier League’s support of Black Lives Matter was trying to achieve, Mee demanded that no such incident was repeated.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again.
“I’m ashamed and upset it’s associated with my club and it’s not something we want to see in the game.”