Fans who boo players for taking the knee ‘not welcome at our club’, says Colchester chairman
Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling has warned fans who boo players taking the knee before kick-off are no longer welcome at the League Two club.
Club owner Mr Cowling said he condemns the “ridiculous actions” of the small number of fans who decided to boo the gesture before last Saturday’s home match against Grimsby Town.
The gesture, now taken by players and referees across the professional game, has been used to show solidarity to those facing discrimination and oppression for decades, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mr Cowling said he remains in full support of players who wish to take the knee, including winger Callum Harriot – who too hit out at fans over social media.
In a statement, Mr Cowling said: “Those that take the knee want to highlight that all lives should be valued and should not be treated inhumanely or inferior to others just because of their race.
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“It is undeniable that black and other ethnic minority people are still the victims of racism, and the black footballers and staff at Colchester United feel that they are in a position of privilege that has been fought for through the blood and sweat of their ancestors.
“A position that in 2020 the average black person is still not afforded.
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“Undeniably, taking the knee is a fundamental catalyst in pushing the conversation and thus the necessary changes forward.”
Mr Cowling added he believes the vast majority of fans are supportive of the gesture – and has called on them to applaud players to make any booing “completely irrelevant”.
Those who do wish to boo however, have been told they are no longer welcome at the club.
He said: “Maybe those that booed on Saturday might now understand what this gesture means to our club and will at the very least remain silent during future games whilst the players continue to take the knee before each kick-off.
“Alternatively, they should just stay away from our club because anyone that still wants to boo now that I have explained the purpose and importance of the taking of the knee is not welcome at our club.
“I will be happy to refund anyone for the remaining value of their season permit if that is the reason they feel they can no longer attend our games.”