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.”
You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture… https://t.co/UaDXRqFpv2
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.
@OfficialTM_3 Bang on. I’m also annoyed at the fact we have been kneeling for a year and racism still disgustingly… https://t.co/gXMO2uCt4D
👏👏👏👏👏 While delighted they lost (sorry Tyrone, mush) every single member of this England squad is so hugely impress… https://t.co/1uSED4kqRO
— Barry Glendenning (@Barry Glendenning)
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.”
On #BBCBreakfast Stephen Barclay MP is challenged on whether the Home Secretary was wrong to call taking the knee '… https://t.co/sN2Ip8BL8V
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.
@pritipatel @England I’ve been keeping the receipts https://t.co/avnxTa3cFC