Millwall Player Mahlon Romeo Issues Emotional Statement After Fans Booed 'Taking The Knee' Gesture
Millwall's Mahlon Romeo has issued a strong and emotional statement after the club's fans booed both sets of players when they 'took the knee' prior to today's game.
2,000 supporters were allowed in at 'The Den' for the 1-0 defeat to Derby County and the occasion was overshadowed by the actions from a section of fans at kick-off.
Millwall fans boo taking the knee before the game, thoughts? pic.twitter.com/33WOBIk0MC- DCFC_Banter_Page (@PageDcfc) December 5, 2020
The 'taking the knee' pre-match gesture against racism has been done in solidarity with the 'Black Lives Matter' movement since the game's restart in June following George Floyd's death in the United States.
And Romeo, who has played 194 times for the club since joining from Gillingham Town five years ago, was "almost lost for words" and felt "disrespected" and the lowest he's ever felt as a Millwall player as a result of the jeers.
"Today's game, to me now, has become irrelevant. 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," he told the South London press.
"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 behavior 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.
"I'm speaking on behalf of myself here - not any of the other players - I want to make that very clear. This is the first time I feel disrespected. Because you have booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which - and it needs repeating - was put in place to highlight, combate and tackle any discriminatory behavior and racism in general.
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"I'm almost lost for words. 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."
The boos and whistles came just a day after Millwall issued a statement pledging to continue "taking the knee" in a message for equality.
The 25-year-old believes there is a lot of great work going on behind the scenes at the club and that today fans have "basically f****** it off".
He added: "There was a statement put out by Millwall - we're going to take it until the end of the year.
"We'll start the year afresh and when we do that there will be things afresh which will combat racism and any discriminatory behaviour and will be positive change - not just for the football club, but for society.
"I'm here with Paul and Dean from the community, and I've seen first hand their work - I've been a part of it plenty of times. All the good work they do in the community has really been undone and attacked with what some fans have done today.
"A lot of people don't know and appreciate how much Millwall do and have done in the community. It's a lot, more than most other clubs. It's vital for this community. Today fans have come here and basically f***** it off."
In response, the FA say they support all players taking a stand and that the organisation "strongly condemns the behaviours of any spectators that actively voice their opposition to such activities".
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