U.K. police have begun investigating a banner with the phrase “White Lives Matter Burnley” that was flown over a soccer match Monday.
A small plane flew the banner just as both the Manchester City and Burnley soccer teams dropped to a knee before the game Monday in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to Fox News.
Lancashire authorities are reportedly “fully investigating” the plane which circled the soccer arena several times, Fox News reported.
“We are making enquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident and we will then be in a position to make an assessment as to whether any criminal offences have taken place,” Lancashire Police Chief Chief Supt Russ Procter said in a Tuesday statement.
“We recognise that this banner will have caused offence to many people in Lancashire and beyond and we continue to liaise closely with our partners at both the club and in the local authority,” Procter said.
Jake Hepple, a Burnley soccer fan, has reportedly taken credit for the banner. He claimed in a Facebook it’s a “mad world we live in” that some liken the phrase “white lives matter” to racism, according to Metro UK.
A plane has just flown over the Etihad that says “White lives matter – Burnley.”
What an absolute disgrace ???? pic.twitter.com/syvl3LyK5L
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 22, 2020
“I’d like to take this time to apologise… to absolutely f***ing nobody!” Hepple wrote in a Facebook post after the incident, the MetroUK reported.
Hepple pointed to a recent London knife attack investigated as terrorism where three people were stabbed as justification for his banner, according to Metro UK.
“Burnley strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner,” the soccer club said in a statement, according to BBC. “We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.” (RELATED: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson In Accident After Protester Reportedly Darts Into The Road, Spokesperson Said)
“We’re ashamed, we’re embarrassed,” Burnley soccer player Ben Mee told BBC. “It’s a minority of our supporters — I know I speak for a massive part of our support who distance ourselves from anything like that.”
Several countries have followed American protests against police brutality and racial inequality since the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes, a viral video of the incident shows.
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