Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has hit back at Darren Bent for his comments on Burnley's black players in the aftermath of the 'White Lives Matter' banner flown over the Clarets' game on Monday.
The team's captain Ben Mee came out strongly against the fans but it was the reaction elsewhere that caused a stir. Former Spurs striker Darren Bent took to Twitter, replying to the banner saying, "Strange considering Burnley have NO black players in there (their) squad at all."
However Burnley winger McNeil, who was playing on Monday, hit back saying, "As a player of Bame origin, I find Darren Bent's comments tonight completely disrespectful, especially to my father, who is black and who has been a huge influence in my life and helped make me the person I am proud to be."
Bent deleted his tweet soon after, although neither he nor talkSPORT, who he works as a pundit for and whose tweet he was replying to, apologised for the former Aston Villa striker's statement.
Fans took to social media to back McNeil and Burnley, who also have Aaron Lennon in their squad and several BAME players in their academy.
On the right is Dwight McNeil who started for Burnley tonight on the left wing.- WOODY (@MIKESACUNT) June 22, 2020
On the left is his Dad, Matty McNeil.
Does Dwight not count because he's not black enough for your rhetoric Darren? pic.twitter.com/TqjZivPR7Z
Ridiculous tweet, Darren. Dwight McNeil is mixed race and if you care to look at our under 23's and below, you'll see we have a very diverse crop of players. Linking the two things is just lazy.- Claret Jules (@ju_no1) June 22, 2020
Dwight McNeil's father is black, therefore he is half black. Darren Bent's comments are extremely disrespectful to people like McNeil. Just because a few clowns who fly over a stadium with a racist banner doesn't make the club itself racist. (1/2) https://t.co/Imo5rHNSeJ- Harry Batters (@HarryBatters) June 23, 2020
Disrespectful, Darren,! And completely untrue.- Darren Bentley (@IdleandWild) June 22, 2020
Dwight McNeil has a black father and isn't the only black player to have proudly worn the shirt this season, across all levels of the club.
In a statement about the White Live's Matter banner, Burnley said, "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 take appropriate action.
"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."
Hopefully McNeil and Burnley can put the ugly matter behind them, punish those responsible and get on with the rest of their season.
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