Duncan Oldham: Fans are booing the BLM, not the message

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Dozens of football fans have asked me since the weekend what I thought of the Millwall fans booing the players when they took the knee at the recent game between Millwall and Derby. It’s a sensitive subject and one that most people may choose to avoid if they weren’t offended by it.

I paused to take thought before answering, but then I thought: ‘No! Stuff this! I’m going to say what I feel. Whether I’m right or wrong, I’m not going to give a virtue signalling answer. I’m not going to hide my true feelings because of fear that I may be put into a camp that I can assure you that I certainly am not a part of.

In my opinion, the majority of football fans who oppose the taking of the knee before a match gets underway, see the gesture as promoting, and possibly even supporting, the BLM, the Black Lives Matter movement, a controversial organisation with political links and worrying ideology. They are not booing the players that they support or the message which any decent human being backs; they are booing the BLM movement.

‘Black lives matter’ said in a statement I emphatically agree with, but I cannot support the BLM movement. Having paid close attention to the BLM and educated myself as best as I can, I’m of the opinion that they create division and not unity.

4 years ago, David Clarke, the highly-respected former Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, gave his opinion on the BLM before they were even a thing in the UK. He said back then that it was time to “condemn and shun the BLM movement” and he called for the organisation to be deemed a hate group. Like Sheriff Clarke, I cannot support their anti-police rhetoric. I also cannot support the vandalising of Sir Winston Churchill’s statue, other acts of vandalism and their intimidating behaviour towards those who do not agree with them.

I come from a police family. Both my father and grandfather were senior police officers. I’m someone that wants to defend the police, not defund it. I was bullied at school for being ‘a copper’s nark’. I hate bullies and I see a lot of bullying coming from the BLM movement, an example of which can be seen in the video below.

Sadly, those who are not familiar with the BLM movement, innocently align themselves with BLM because they rightly want to support the message ‘black lives matter’. I’m often told that all lives matter when I mention the BLM, which, of course, is true, but people who want to stamp out racism aren’t saying that other lives don’t matter so don’t allow yourself to be dragged into those arguments.

Question the BLM and you can be quickly labelled a racist. That’s how shit works today when you speak up even when you have good intentions. We have to differentiate between ‘Black Lives Matter’ the movement and ‘black lives matter’ in a sentence. I deplore racism and would walk alongside my black friends and put my life on the line to support them, but I’d not criticise the Millwall fans who expressed their dismay at the weekend. I have spoken to so many people who share the same views as me but they daren’t speak out for the reasons I’ve given above.

When the BLM went mainstream in the UK following the horrendous death of career criminal George Floyd, I thought the football authorities and broadcasters made a huge mistake getting in bed with the movement. Football already had Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card, two charities that often appeal for support and publicity, and most football supporters were already familiar with them. To this day I’ve never understood why they were overlooked.

I was delighted to hear that Millwall won’t be taking the knee before tonight’s Championship fixture against QPR. Instead, the players will stand arm-in-arm in a “show of solidarity for football’s fight against discrimination”. More importantly, I feel, is that Millwall’s regular shirt sponsor will be replaced with the Kick It Out logo. I’m not sure standing arm-in-arm will completely silence the boos. I think the only way you do that is by breaking away from the BLM. By involving Kick It Out, I think this is a step in the right direction in doing just that.

Millwall supporters are an easy target, but let’s not forget there have been reports of related incidents involving the supporters of other clubs such as West Ham and Colchester United now that supporters are gradually being allowed back into stadiums. If you think it’s just the bad boys of Millwall, you’d be mistaken.

I would like to think that all of my friends and everyone who supports my content agrees with me that racism isn’t acceptable in any walk of life, never mind football. We must all unite against this, but we should do so peacefully and respectfully.

Finally, rather than seeing the football authorities give the green light for this virtue signalling nonsense that we’ve been subjected to for months, they should drop the hypocrisy and start coming down harder on those nations and their related fans who continually shout racist abuse from the terraces.

#OneLove

Duncan Oldham

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