Mings hits back at UK politician over kneeling

England defender Tyrone Mings has rejected the suggestion from UK Home Secretary Priti Patel that taking a knee is “gesture politics” and vowed the squad will continue “educating the minority” by promoting racial equality.

Manager Gareth Southgate held two meetings with his players earlier this month at which they decided to carry on taking a knee throughout Euro 2020 after both warm-up matches against Austria and Romania at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium were overshadowed by vocal opposition among supporters.

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Politicians and the public have continued to debate the issue with Patel the first cabinet minister to criticise the move, when she said: “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture politics,” before adding it was the “choice” of fans whether to boo or not.

There was audible booing as the players took a knee prior to Sunday’s Euro 2020 opening 1-0 win over Croatia in front of 22,500 fans at Wembley but was quickly overwhelmed by cheering and applause.

Mings and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson were invited back in January to consult with government ministers on possible measures to tackle abuse in football and when asked about Patel’s latest intervention, the 28-year-old Aston Villa defender said: “To the Home Secretary, I don’t really have a direct message. We spoke, she invited me on a Zoom call where she seemed so interested and engrossed in the players’ point of view, what we could do more to tackle these sorts of issues.

“But at the same time, everybody is entitled to their opinion. The Home Secretary is one of many, many people that oppose us taking the knee or refuse to defend it.

“So, we have our own set of beliefs and what we think we can do to help, that players can be influential and stand up for what we believe in. And understandably when you have such strong beliefs, there will be opposition to that. We’ve spoken about it a lot.

“We’ve spoken about trying to educate or trying to inform the minority who refuse to acknowledge why we’re taking the knee and want to boo it but at the same time in Wembley there was a hugely positive reaction to us taking the knee as well and I don’t that should be overshadowed by the minority who refuse to accept what the reasons are or don’t agree with them.”