I unfortunately couldn’t watch Manchester City play against Burnley on Monday night in the Premier League, but I cannot describe the utter disgust that I felt when I read about the incident that took place during the game, namely the banner that was paid for and flew overhead reading “White Lives Matter Burnley”.
In essence, it showed exactly why the Premier League needs to carry on their protests at the start of each match in solidarity, because some people are still clearly not getting the message. Tony Livesey made a fantastic clarification on BBC Radio 5 Live as to why saying “White Lives Matter” is the wrong message to be sending right now.
It (the banner) was completely out of touch with what is happening in Britain right now and showed a complete lack understanding of the Black Lives Matter protests and what they are all about. Dion Dublin, too, made a cracking comment last week when he said he was “sick of T-shirts”, which is the same agnosticism I felt when they started putting Black Lives Matter on the back of people’s T-shirts.
There have been so many racist incidents in football in recent times, and many stats say they are on the rise. I have kept quiet about the topic up until this point, as being a white, British man who, albeit came from a working class background, has enjoyed a rather privileged upbringing, I felt it was not my place to comment on such things, and that I should allow BAME voices to rise up and control the narrative.
However, reading about how that banner went over the ground, most likely paid for by people who are exactly like me, I felt that I couldn’t sit back and do nothing to condemn the act with every single fibre of my being.
As I sit here now, writing this piece, I am almost driven to shaking with anger, that there are still people who cannot see the inequality that is ingrained into our society, still in 2020. That anyone disagrees with a statue being taken down because ‘they are a British hero’ is ridiculous. That should go without saying, yet there are still people who need to hear something like that said to them.
Honestly, I do not have the words to perfectly and eloquently describe just how enraged I feel about this situation, but I had to put something out there and make my feelings heard for the record. This is hopefully the time that the movement has the momentum make real change. Boris Johnson might try to distract by opening up barbers and pubs so we can all go have a beer, get a haircut and forget this is happening, but we cannot forget those left behind by societal development this time. We have had so many chances to instigate such a change, let’s not let this opportunity pass by and be classed as “just another protest on T-shirts” before we move onto something else to be angry about, this is a cause that deserves it, now more than ever.