Millwall’s Mahlon Romeo slams fans to boo as players kneel in support of fight against racial injustice | Football News

Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo accused club supporters of ‘spreading hatred’ after a section of supporters booed each other when players took a knee to support the fight against racial injustice at the start of their campaign. match with Derby.

Saturday’s game at The Den, which Derby won 1-0, marked the first time Millwall supporters have been able to see a home game since the coronavirus pandemic brought the championship to a halt in March.

Players in England’s main divisions have suffered a knee at the start of matches since football resumed in June as part of global sporting events against racial injustice.

In a heated post-match interview, Romeo, a London-born black player who has represented Antigua and Barbuda internationally, spoke about how the reaction from club supporters affected him.

Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo played the full game as the Lions lost to Derby on Saturday

Romeo told the South London Press: “Today’s game, for me now, has become irrelevant. Fans were let in – something the whole team had been eagerly awaiting. But in society there is a problem – and that problem is racism.

“The supporters who have been admitted today have personally disrespected not only me but the football club. And what the football club and the community stand for. What they have done is booed and condemned a peaceful gesture that was put in place to highlight, combat and stop all discriminatory and racist behavior. That’s all – that’s all this gesture.

“And the fans chose to boo that, which I can’t understand all my life. It offended me and everyone who works for this club – the players and the staff.

“I’m speaking for myself here – not the other players – I want this to be very clear. It is the first time that I do not feel respected. Because you booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which – and it must be repeated – was put in place to highlight, fight and fight against all discriminatory behavior and racism in general. ”


Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Derby

The incident came a day after Millwall’s first team issued a statement signaling their intention to continue to take a knee before matches until the new year, when “a comprehensive new strategy of fight against discrimination ”must be announced by the club. .

Romeo was keen to stress that his anger was heightened over the possibility that the boos could undo some of the “vital” work the club does in the community on social issues.

“I’m almost lost for words,” he added. “I don’t know how they thought it would make me feel. I don’t know what they thought taking a knee was like. But I think I explained it quite simply. I feel really low – probably the lowest I ‘ve felt in my time at this club.

Millwall's players knelt at the start of their Derby game
Millwall players kneel as Derby forward Colin Kazim-Richards raises his fist in support of fight against racial injustice

“This is something that I cannot understand. People will have their beliefs and views, which everyone is entitled to. I’m not trying to stop or contain – but if your beliefs and opinions stand in the way of positive change in society, then don’t You come to a soccer field to spread them.

“If it’s negative, don’t think you can come to a football field and this is where you can essentially spread hatred.

“When fans boo a peaceful gesture to emphasize racism, it naturally makes you wonder ‘why am I going through this?’. I’m sure not all Millwall fans have the same opinion – it’s a small collection. But if we were to be realistic, it made me feel very small and it made me feel personally disrespected. ”

The incident was condemned by Derby striker Colin Kazim-Richards and interim boss Wayne Rooney after the game, while the English Football League (EFL), the Football Association (FA) and the anti charity – Racist Kick It Out have all released statements after the game.

Gary Rowett


Millwall manager Gary Rowett was very disappointed that fans booed when players from both clubs took a knee ahead of the Derby game but also pointed out that Millwall as a club had done a lot of work to do campaign against racism.

Several hours after Saturday night’s game, Millwall had not offered an official response to the incident, but boss Gary Rowett said he was frustrated the fans’ return had been overshadowed.

He said Sky Sports: “I’m disappointed that we are talking about this when we should be talking about the fact that we are all back and want to enjoy the football game again.

“The club does a lot of work on anti-racism and the club does a lot of work in the community and there are some really positive things, so of course I’m disappointed. ”

Of players taking a knee, Rowett added, “Is this a political message, is it an anti-discrimination message? The players came out and said they don’t support the politics aspect, but they support the anti-discrimination aspect of and of course we all do. ”

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