An English soccer team’s owner says fans who boo players taking the knee will be given a refund on their tickets and told to never come back


  • An English football boss has said that fans who boo players taking the knee at his club should "stay away."
  • Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling made the comments after a minority of fans were heard booing as players made the gesture before the club's victory over Grimsby Town on Saturday. 
  • He also says he "happy to refund" the season tickets of any fans who feel they can't stay silent during the gesture. 
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The chairman of English Football League side Colchester United says fans who boo players taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement should "stay away" from his club and can get a full refund for their season ticket.

A minority of Colchester fans could be heard booing from the stands as players took the knee before the club's victory over Grimsby Town on Saturday. 

"Our club supports the players and their choice to take the knee for a few seconds before every game," said chairman Robbie Cowling in a powerful statement on the club's website.

"Callum Harriot [one of Colchester's players] described the purpose of the gesture perfectly to me explaining that taking the knee dates back to early civil rights movements as a way of silently showing solidarity in support of political inequalities suffered by oppressed communities.

"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.

Players across all of England's professional soccer leagues have taken the knee prior to games since pro sports restart after their coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

However, as fans are reintroduced into stadiums in small numbers, some have voiced their displeasure at the gesture.

Cowling continued: "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. 

"Those taking the knee, and supporting the taking of the knee, not only shows their willingness to support the drive to eradicate racial oppression but force it to be a talking point even when it's uncomfortable.

"Undeniably, taking the knee is a fundamental catalyst in pushing the conversation and thus the necessary changes forward."

 "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."

The incident at Colchester came on the same day that a number of fans at Millwall FC also booed players taking the knee prior to its defeat to Derby County in the English Football League Championship.

The Football Association has now confirmed investigations are underway into both incidents.

"The FA can confirm that investigations are underway into crowd-related incidents at both The Den and JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday 5 December 2020," it said in a statement on Monday.

"Observations have been sought from all of the relevant parties and they will have until Thursday 10 December 2020 to provide their respective responses."

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