Tyrone Mings praised after accusing Priti Patel of ‘stoking the fire’ amid racist abuse of England players

Tyrone Mings praised after accusing Priti Patel of ‘stoking the fire’ amid racist abuse of England players

Home secretary Priti Patel has been called out by footballer Tyrone Mings after she attempted to condemn the racist abuse of England players after their Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy.

In a tweet to her followers, Patel described how she felt “disgusted” at the fact that some of the players have been “subject to vile racist abuse on social media.”

“It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable,” she added.

But many say her stance reeks of hypocrisy, after previously refusing to criticise fans who booed the England team for the “gesture politics” of taking the knee in protest against racial inequality.

“That’s a choice for them [fans] quite frankly,” she told broadcaster GB News just last month.

She added: “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture politics.”

She declined to answer whether she would boo the England team herself, saying: “I’ve not gone to a football match to even contemplate that.”

Perhaps the most vocal criticism of the home secretary’s comments came from the Aston Villa defender who wrote: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”

Mings, who isn’t afraid of voicing his opinion and taking a stance (Mings took part in Black Lives Matter protests last year) has been widely praised from across the sport and media landscape for his response to Patel and standing up to politicians.

Even people who don’t support England couldn’t help but praise Mings’ words.

Conservative Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer, a former defence minister, said of Mings’ tweet: “The painful truth is that this guy is completely right. Very uncomfortable with the position we Conservatives are needlessly forcing ourselves into.

“Do I fight it or stay silent? Modern Conservatism was always so much more to me. We must not lose our way.”

Taking the knee, a symbol of anti-racism solidarity, gained attention in American football in 2016 as players protested against police brutality and racism in the US.

On BBC Breakfast Tory MP Stephen Barclay was asked whether it was wrong of Patel to call taking the knee ‘gesture politics.’ He replied that ultimately the government and football’s goal is to eradicate the “scourge of racism.”

Plenty of people had been quick to respond to Patel’s initial tweet, which came hours after the match, which saw Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka racially abused on social media for missing penalties in the shootout.

Labour MPs Dawn Butler and David Lammy had also criticised Patel and asked why she encouraged fans to boo the players for taking the knee if she is so appalled with the abuse they’re receiving.

Lammy has also called for Patel to apologise for encouraging fans to boo the Three Lions for taking the knee.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner also didn’t mince her words when comparing prime minister Boris Johnson and Priti Patel to “arsonists complaining about a fire they poured petrol on.”

While others highlighted that the torrent of abuse the players have received is one of the reasons why the squad take the knee in the first place.

Elsewhere, Johnson also condemned the racist abused by so-called “fans” on Twitter.

He described the abuse as “appalling” and said those responsible “should be ashamed of themselves.”

But former Manchester United and England player Gary Neville called on Johnson to take a tougher stance, also suggesting he was guilty of hypocrisy.

“The prime minister said it was ok for the population of this country to boos those players who are trying to promote equality and defend against racism,” he told Sky News.

“It starts at the very top.”

At the time of writing, Mings’s response to Patel has been retweeted more than 130,000 times and received more than 390,000 likes.

Patel declined to comment on his tweet.

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