Burnley have promised lifetime bans for those involved in flying the offensive banner over Ethiad Stadium as players took the pitch wearing kits that say “Black Lives Matter.”
Since the Premier League restarted last week, players have been wearing kits with “Black Lives Matter” printed where their names would usually feature. In addition to the kits, players and staff have taken a knee before every game. The gesture is meant to show support for anti-racism protests that have swept the world in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and to reaffirm that there is no room for racism in the Premier League or anywhere else.
But not everyone agrees with the show of solidarity, and those toxic voices always manage to find a way to make themselves heard, even when fans aren’t allowed in the stadiums. On Monday night, during the Premier League clash between Manchester City and Burnley, an aircraft flew over City’s Ethiad Stadium carrying the banner “White Lives Matter Burnley.”
How did Burnley respond?
Burnley wasted no time condemning the banner and promising punishment for those found to have been behind it. The club came out with a strong statement during the halftime break of Monday night’s game, condemning the incident. “We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor,” the statement said, referencing Burnley’s home stadium. “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.”
“We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative,” the statement continued. “We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”
Burnley wound up losing the match, 5-0, to Manchester City.
After the match, Burnley captain Ben Mee said he was “embarrassed and ashamed” by the banner.