The English Premier League returned to action last week and it showed a bunch of teams donning the words “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their jerseys in the place of player names.
It was a message of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States after the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
Despite the show of solidarity, Monday’s match between Manchester City and Burnley served as another painful reminder of the racist messaging that exists worldwide when reporters took notice of a plane flying over Etihad Stadium, displaying the message, “White lives matter Burnley.”
“White lives matter” is a common response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which came about to protest unjust killings of Black people at the hands of police.
At halftime, Burnley released a statement, banning those responsible for the banner from attending future matches at Turf Moor:
“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 club has a proud record of working with all genders, religions and faiths through its award-winning Community scheme, and stands against racism of any kind.
We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative and, in line with all other Premier League games undertaken since Project Restart, our players and football staff willingly took the knee at kick-off at Manchester City.
We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”