A “White Lives Matter Burnley” banner flown over an English Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on Monday sparked a police investigation.
The plane was seen flying over the Manchester stadium just as players began to take a knee to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The aircraft circled the stadium for several minutes. Lancashire police said they will be “fully investigating” the incident.
A plane towing a banner reading White Lives Matter Burnley flies above the stadium during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, England, Monday, June 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Shaun Botterill, Pool)
“Fans like that don’t deserve to be around football,” Burnley defender Ben Mee told BBC Radio Live 5. “We’re ashamed, we’re embarrassed.”
“It’s a minority of our supporters — I know I speak for a massive part of our support who distance ourselves from anything like that. It definitely had a massive impact on us to see that in the sky,” he added. “We are embarrassed that our name was in it, that they tried to attach it to our club — it doesn’t belong anywhere near our club.”
Burnley apologized for the banner and condemned it in a statement.
“Burnley strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner,” the club said in a statement. “We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.”
The club added: “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.”
The Premier League resumed last week and clubs took the initiative to replace player names on the back of shirts with “Black Lives Matter.” Players, coaches and match officials have taken a knee for about 10 seconds before kickoff in the first 12 matches since the resumption.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.