BBC Question Time: Brexiteer clashes with Labour MP over footballers ‘taking a knee’ | UK | News (Reports)


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The Football Association launched investigations after players taking the knee were booed by fans at Millwall and Colchester United games on Saturday. The move was strongly condemned with Derby County star Wayne Rooney, who played against Millwall, branding it “disgraceful and mindless behaviour”.

However, on Question Time Ms Hartley-Brewer argued players shouldn’t be making “political demonstrations” and claimed “fans are allowed to boo”.

Reacting to the events she said: “I think it’s a free country, the fans are allowed to boo.

“It’s not something I would have done myself.

“That said I don’t think the players should now or should ever have been taking the knee.

Question Time

Julia Hartley-Brewer criticised ‘taking a knee’ before football games (Image: BBCQT )


The panel on Thursday night’s Question Time was socially distanced (Image: BBCQT)

“I think people were desperate for football and sport generally to come back after the lockdown and desperate for some escapism from the politics, from the difficulty of daily life, and they would like to have politics separate from football.”

Footballers, as well as many other athletes, took to taking the knee in support of racial justice after sport returned from its coronavirus lockdown.

This followed the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by police in Minneapolis.

Question Time host Fiona Bruce asked whether this means black players “shouldn’t be taking the knee” even if it’s important to them.

READ MORE: Simon Jordan defends Millwall fans for booing players in BLM protest

Question Time

“Let’s not pretend that the booing of those players was anything other than a racist response” (Image: BBCQT)

For a period, Premier League players wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’.

Saturday’s games were some of the first to be attended by fans since the Covid-19 lockdown back in March, though their numbers were severely limited.

Ms Hartley-Brewer replied: “We don’t allow political demonstrations of any other kind, other than the wearing of the poppy, in football matches and we do that for a very good reason.

“This was a political demonstration, the players originally when they started the Premier League had ‘Black Lives Matter’ written on their shirts.


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Question Time

Millwall players taking a knee before their game with Derby County (Image: GETTY)

Question Time

Wayne Rooney condemned “disgraceful and mindless behaviour” (Image: GETTY)

“The slogan of a now political organisation.

“Now regardless of the Marxist ‘defund the police’ aims of the organisation I think it’s quite bizarre that the only demonstration that happens at the beginning of our football matches should be a demonstration with relation to the horrific racist murder of a black man in America many many months ago.

“It’s not something that happened in this country, it’s not something that anyone in this country would ever endorse or say was ever acceptable.”

Ms Hartley-Brewer went on to ask whether England players will take a knee to support the rights of women and homosexuals during the 2022 Qatar world cup.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic Thursday night’s Question Time took place without a studio audience and with the panel socially distanced.

However, Ms Hartley-Brewer’s views were fiercely opposed by Labour MP Wes Streeting.

Mr Streeting argued: “When Millwall footballers decided to take the knee no one thinks it was some kind of Marxist protest.

Question Time

Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the world over the summer (Image: GETTY)

“No one thinks it was about defunding the police.

“What it was about was saying we’re not going to be bystanders to racism, we think this conversation is important and we footballers with fans and a following are going to use our platform to say something about it and encourage you to join in.

“Let’s not pretend that the booing of those players was anything other than a racist response to an anti-racist protest.”


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