Players hug at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at The Den
Millwall manager Gary Rowett insists taking the knee is causing a rift in football and has urged the authorities to devise a more unifying message in the battle against racism.
Rowett’s comments come after Millwall fans booed Fulham’s players when they made the gesture in the Championship match at The Den, which the Whites won 2-1.
The 47-year-old wants to see “a better way to unify people”, with Millwall players once again opting against taking the knee and instead standing together, with some raising a fist towards the sky.
Rowett’s views were quickly dismissed by Sky Sports pundit Jobi McAnuff, who admitted he was “disappointed”.
Rowett said: “Up and down the country I think there are so many football clubs that do such good work in their communities around equality and anti-racism. We need the authorities to help clubs out and find a better way to unify people.
“I don’t want to comment on individual people’s decision to do that but we just need to find a way to unify people.At the moment, you know, 20 seconds, 30 seconds, before a game is just causing such a rift and divide. Football is a great spectacle.
“We’re privileged to be part of it. What it does is has the power to help communities and do some really good work behind the scenes.
“It’s not just our club, there’s a lot of clubs doing that, so I think we need help. We need help to find a more positive way of taking some form of action. That’s my opinion.”
While McAnuff showed evident frustration at hearing Rowett’s views and his inability to understand the message portrayed by the gesture.
“I don’t think we can be any clearer in terms of the messaging behind taking a knee and what it represents. It’s the fight against racism and discrimination. It’s that simple,” McAnuff told Sky Sports.
“When somebody decides to make a racist tweet or shout racist abuse at somebody, that’s a decision. These fans at this football club are making a decision to boo the players taking a knee.
“For me, there’s no other explanation anymore other than they’re opposing equality and that’s as simple as it is.
“Yes, you’re the manager of a football club and might say you can’t control what a fan does when they come in. But what you can do as the figurehead is condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
“That is what I would have liked to have seen. That is why I’m disappointed.”
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