England ‘fans’ who harassed their own team when taking the knee are a disgrace

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England ‘fans’ who harassed their own team by taking the knee are a disgrace – Three Lions’ Euro 2020 opener should be a symbol of hope and excitement, but we fear how a shameless minority is resisting their fight for equality

Marcus Rashford became the eighth black England captain at the Riverside last night. How did his own fans congratulate him? They booed him.

Jadon Sancho, Tyrone Mings, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ben Godfrey and Kalvin Phillips all started against the Romanians – they were treated with the same disdain when they took the knee.

Imagine that? Proactively interrupt the players you’ve come to support?

Friday 11 June

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Turkey

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Saturday June 12

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Switzerland

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Denmark

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Finland

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Sunday 13 June

European championship

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England

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Croatia

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Some England fans again chased players for taking the knee before their win over Romania

Some England fans again chased players for taking the knee before their win over Romania

The players were treated with contempt for taking the anti-racism gesture before the match

The players were treated with contempt for taking the anti-racism gesture before the match

Unfortunately, we don’t have to imagine it. This outrageous behavior is playing out before our very eyes in living color.

It’s all downright depressing.

There was hope that after Gareth Southgate’s inspiring explanation of why his players would continue to take the knee, despite the disagreement during last Wednesday’s game against Austria, there would be no repeat on Sunday.

How wrong we were – the emotional comments from the English boss made no difference at all.

“It never ends. It’s the fans who don’t want to listen, they don’t like to change,” Ashley Cole said on Sunday.

You fear that Cole, who played 107 times from England, is spot on in his prediction.

English football still has a long way to go; the two bleak episodes in four days here in Teesside told us that.

Thanks to those who did their best to drown out the mockery with applause. Yet the echo of booing was inescapable.

Players have made it clear that the knee gesture has nothing to do with politics

Players have made it clear that the knee gesture has nothing to do with politics

And as if to get the point across, this deplorable chunk of England’s support threw in a ‘No Surrender’ chorus during the anthems for good measure.

Those booing insist they are not racist, just expressing dissent with the political arm of the Black Lives Matter movement.

No sane person buys that even for a minute. Players have already made it clear that their actions are not in line with politics, getting on their knees is about anti-discrimination.

We fear that a minority will oppose the player's fight for equality during the European Championship

We fear that a minority will oppose the player’s fight for equality during the European Championship

This is now a major problem for the FA.

Those who have booed – tickets were limited to members of the England Supporters Club – are likely to be at Wembley for Sunday’s European Championship opener against Croatia, a match that should be a symbol of hope and excitement.

Instead, here we are – fearing how a shameless minority could resist 11 men’s struggle for equality.

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