Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis has branded the ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ banner that flew over Manchester’s Etihad Stadium on Monday as a "really stupid thing to do”.
Speaking on LBC, the Northern Ireland secretary was asked about the banner that was flown just before Burnley’s Premier League fixture with Manchester City.
He added: “Inappropriate, bad judgment. I don't know why they did it.”
Burnley issued a statement while the game was still being played, citing that anyone deemed responsible would be banned from attending matches.
"We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor," it read.
Captain 'Ashamed and Embarrassed' By Plane Banner https://t.co/qiabh3rA7m— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) June 22, 2020
"This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and issue lifetime bans."
Speaking immediately after the game, Clarets captain Ben Mee added: "We as a group of players condemn it, we're ashamed, we're embarrassed.
"It definitely had a massive impact on us to see that in the sky. We were embarrassed, disappointed, upset. We are embarrassed that our name was in it.
"That they tried to attach it to our club - it doesn't belong anywhere near our club. Fans like that don't deserve to be around football."
The Black Lives Matter movement has seen the Premier League adopting its own initiatives, with players taking a knee before games and replacing the names on their shirts with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ in its place.
Former Burnley manager, and Bournemouth’s current boss, Eddie Howe praised the club and Mee for their response. “I echo Ben Mee’s comments, who I thought spoke really well after the game and I’m sure it’s a very small minority of Burnley supporters who have done that.
“The majority of Burnley supporters who I met in my time there were fantastic people. On behalf of this club we are anti all racism and discrimination.”
As an ex @BurnleyOfficial captain, I feel I need to show my disappointment when I saw that sign above the stadium at a club many black players have represented, please understand the message #BlackLivesMatters is for the good of humanity not just Black lives. 🖤🤍 pic.twitter.com/s3QBpwVDTI— Frank Sinclair (@FrankMSinclair) June 22, 2020
Former Burnley defender Frank Sinclair was one of many to criticise the banner. He said that the Black Lives Matter movement is “for the good of humanity not just black lives.
A Burnley fan took credit for the banner. Posting on his Facebook page, the fan wrote: "I'd like to take this time to apologise .. TO ABSOLUTELY F ** NOBODY!
"It's now apparently racist to say white lives matter."