Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo ‘lost for words’ after players booed by own fans for taking the knee

Malik Ouzia
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo says he is “lost for words” and feels “personally disrespected” after fans booed players taking the knee before Saturday’s meeting with Derby.

A section of home supporters - who were back at The Den for the first time since before the coronavirus shutdown in March - voiced their disapproval of the anti-racism gesture made prior to kick-off in the Championship clash.

"Today's game, to me now, has become irrelevant,” Romeo told the South London Press. “The fans have been let back in - which the whole team was looking forward to. But in society there is a problem - and that problem is racism.

"The fans who have been let in today have personally disrespected not just me but the football club. And what the football club and the community stand for. What they've done is booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which was put in place to highlight, combat and stop any discriminatory behaviour and racism. That's it - that's all that gesture is.

"And the fans have chosen to boo that, which for the life of me I can't understand. It has offended me and everyone who works for this club - the players and the staff.

As with many sports stars around the world, Premier League players have been taking the knee in support of the global fight for racial justice prior to every game since the post-lockdown restart in June, though some Championship clubs have halted the practice this season.

Romeo was one of several black players on the field when the booing took place on Saturday and said the incident made him “feel very small”.

"I'm almost lost for words," he added. "I don't know how they thought that would make me feel. I don't know what they thought taking a knee stood for. But I think I've explained it simply enough. I feel really low - probably the lowest I've felt in my time at this club.

"It's something I can't wrap my head around. People will have their beliefs and views, which everyone is entitled to. I'm not trying to stop or contain - but if your beliefs and views oppose a positive change in society then don't come to a football ground and spread them around.

"If it's negative, don't think you can come to a football ground and this is the place where you can spread hatred essentially.”

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