Change ‘unstoppable’, say football anti-racism campaigners after banner stunt
London: Players' union bosses praised Burnley captain Ben Mee's reaction to a "White Lives Matter" banner flown over the Etihad Stadium, as anti-racism campaigners said change was unstoppable.
The words "White Lives Matter Burnley" were towed by a plane that flew over the ground shortly after all players and match officials had taken a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Monday.
Mee, in his post-match comments after his side's 5-0 defeat by Manchester City, said he was "ashamed", urging people to "come into the 21st century".
In a statement, Burnley promised to hand lifetime bans to those responsible.
Iffy Onuora, an equalities officer for the Professional Footballers' Association, said the Burnley skipper's strong words had been well-chosen.
"You get that moment of deflation but then there's the positive reaction since," he said.
"I thought Ben Mee was absolutely fantastic. You feel inspired again. These are uncomfortable conversations but in order to progress, you have to have them."
- Police probe -
Meanwhile Lancashire Police confirmed they had launched an investigation, with Chief Superintendent Russ Procter saying: "We are making enquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident and we will then be in a position to make an assessment as to whether any criminal offences have taken place.
"We recognise that this banner will have caused offence to many people in Lancashire and beyond and we continue to liaise closely with our partners at both the club and in the local authority." - AFP