June 12, 2021

Rio Ferdinand hits out at ‘ignorant’ England fans who boo players taking the knee

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<p>England players took a knee before the friendly and were booed by a portion of fans</p> (PA Wire)

England players took a knee before the friendly and were booed by a portion of fans

(PA Wire)

Rio Ferdinand has criticised fans who have booed England players for taking the knee and labelled them “ignorant”.

Jeers could be heard before the pre-game gesture before friendlies against Austria and Romania at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough.

Gareth Southgate has reiterated the group’s desire to continue making the gesture in a stand against racism and discrimination.

Ferdinand himself has been targeted with abuse in recent months and the 42-year-old has offered his view on the current situation, maintaining that the gesture is “not a political stance” amid some critics linking the gesture with political aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“These fans, these ignorant people going to these games, they haven’t got a clue,” the former Manchester United and England defender said on his YouTube channel.

“They don’t know what the players are kneeling for. It’s not a political stance.

“All these people saying, ‘BLM is a political movement’ – [the knee] is nothing to do with [BLM]. So take that out of your mind.

“The players, the manager are telling you, ‘This is not a political campaign, the reason why we kneel is nothing to do with politics’.

“This stance is about racism, about people being treated the right way and respectfully, and not based on the colour of their skin.

“There is no valid reason for booing. They’re meant to be here helping the team, pushing them along.

“The players’ narrative around this is nothing to do with politics so please just support this team, support these players.

“They don’t want injustice, they don’t want people to be judged off the colour of their skin. And they’re kneeling because of that. So why are you booing?”

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