Cambridge United Football Club is punishing fans who booed when players kneeled in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, banning some from Abbey Stadium for the season and requiring others to be re-educated before they can return.
The club launched an investigation after hearing a smattering of boos when players kneeled before Cambridge United’s December 15 home game against Colchester. Based on the findings of that probe, the team on Wednesday said it banned an undisclosed number of fans and issued refunds to those who had season tickets. Other politically incorrect fans were told they could get back into the stadium only after receiving discrimination and equality education.
“Diversity and inclusion will continue to be at the heart of what we stand for as a football club, and we will be making no further comment about the incident,” Cambridge United said in a statement.
Several club board members oversaw the investigation, including Godric Smith, formerly spokesman for then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. Individual fans were given the opportunity to “explain their actions.”
But some observers found it absurd that a football club’s supporters would even need to explain why they chose to boo. “Cambridge deserves to go under for this,” one commenter said. “Who on earth do these football clubs think they are?”
Cambridge deserve to go under for this. An absolute joke. Who on earth do these football clubs thing they are? Stadium bans and education for fans who booed players taking a knee https://t.co/PbUjClwNVk via @MailOnline
— Inc.Monocle (@IncMonocle) December 24, 2020
Other fans said the booing was driven by disgust over BLM’s offensive political agenda, not racism, and they will continue to voice their displeasure. One said, “2020, and booing communism is punishable,” while another quipped, “Just leave footy to the woke, and watch it go broke. Good riddance.”
BLM desecrated The Cenotaph. They are a political Marxist organisation. This is why us fans find it offensive that the players are forced to take the BLM knee. We are all for the ‘kick it out’ campaign but not this. I will be booing at the next Cambridge Utd game.
— Lord Flashman 🇬🇧🏴🇺🇸🇳🇿🇦🇺🇨🇦 (@GeneralGammon) December 23, 2020
A similar controversy was stirred on December 5, after fans at a Millwall FC match hosting Derby County booed when players kneeled in support of BLM, leading media outlets to brand them as racist. A fan group for Millwall, the Millwall Supporters Club, said those who booed were responding to BLM’s extreme political views and actions, such as damaging war memorials and Winston Churchill statues.
Millwall FC responded by saying that players from both teams at its next match, against Queens Park Rangers, would stand together before the game and hold a pro-equality banner. Fans responded by cheering heartily when players held the banner on December 8.
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