Just after the kick off at the Manchester City v Burnley football match on Monday evening, a plane flew over Etihad Stadium with a banner attached to the back with the words “White Lives Matter Burnley”.
Plane flying over the City - Burnley match at Etihad displaying "White Lives Matter Burnley".
The UK isn't racist… https://t.co/ESWjsh0FRJ
Since then, the club, its team captain, their supporters and a whole host of commentators and celebrities have condemned the message.
The banner came about after players wore jerseys with the words “Black Lives Matter” written on the back, as well as players “taking the knee” as a sign of respect to the movement.
Releasing a statement at half-time, Burnley FC called the banner “offensive” and warned once those responsible are identified, they’ll be issued lifetime bans:
Burnley Football Club strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner that flew over the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening. We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.
This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans.
The football club apologised “unreservedly” to the Premier League, Manchester City and all those helping to promote the Black Lives Matter movement.
Similarly, straight after the match, Burnley FC captain Ben Mee said he was “ashamed and embarrassed” by the banner:
Burnley have issued a strongly-worded condemnation, and captain Ben Mee spoke passionately, after an offensive bann… https://t.co/CCpOrUUBah
While Burnley manager Sean Dyche called the banner “unacceptable”:
I don’t think you can judge the whole town or the club on that but it’s unacceptable. So as a club, we can only apologise and say... well I don’t know what we could’ve done about it because I’ve just learnt about it but obviously it is unacceptable.
Then a whole host of commentators and celebrities called out the “offensive” banner:
As an ex @BurnleyOfficial captain, I feel I need to show my disappointment when I saw that sign above the stadiu… https://t.co/Ip4idbEga1
Burnley fan Jake Hepple – who has previously been pictured with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson – has claimed responsibility for the banner, writing on Facebook on Monday evening:
I’d like to take this time to apologise .. TO ABSOLUTELY F***ING NOBODY! It’s now apparently racist to say white lives matter (the day after 3 white people got murdered in a park in Reading, but all we’ve seen on the tell is black lives matter after George Floyd got murdered) what a mad world we live in.
Twitter account @BurnleyFCPolice wrote on Twitter on Monday evening that they were "aware of the incident" and they'll be "fully investigating" it.