Burnley’s Dwight McNeil criticises Darren Bent for wrongly claiming club has ‘NO black players’ after ‘White Lives Matter’ plane stunt

McNeil is one of two black players in the current Burnley first-team squad who took exception to Bent’s claim and responded that he had been ‘completely disrespectful’ with is accusation

Plane pulling ‘white lives matter’ banner flies above Man City vs Burnley match

Darren Bent has been criticised by Burnley midfielder Dwight McNeil after he incorrectly claimed the club have no black players in their squad.

McNeil is one of two black players in the current Burnley senior squad alongside Aaron Lennon - who played alongside Bent at Tottenham as well as for England - and took exception with Bent’s comments in the wake of Monday night’s disgraceful incident at the Etihad Stadium.

An aeroplane flew over the stadium just after Manchester City and Burnley players took the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as all players have done so before each game this weekend, only for the banner to appear above them reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley!’.

The stunt has been strongly denounced by Burnley Football Club, with both captain Ben Mee and manager Sean Dyche speaking out to condemn those responsible and stress that they are not welcome at the club due to the racially provocative display.

But Bent took aim directly at the club, with the recently-retired football posting a message on Twitter in response to a video of the stunt claiming that it was no surprise the banner was related to Burnley because they have no black players on their books.

“Strange considering Burnley have NO black players in there (their) squad at all,” Bent wrote, triggering an immediate Twitter backlash.

The most powerful response came from McNeil, the 20-year-old winger whose father, Matty, is black.

“As a player of Bame origin, I find Darren Bent’s comments tonight completely disrespectful, especially to my father, who is black and who has been a huge influence in my life and helped make me the person I am proud to be,” McNeil said.

Burnley also have several Bame players in their academy, and issued a strongly-worded statement following the incident to condemn those responsible for their actions.

Dwight McNeil criticised Darren Bent for his incorrect statement

“Burnley Football Club strongly condemns the actions of those responsible for the aircraft and offensive banner that flew over The Etihad Stadium on Monday evening,” a club statement read.

“We wish to make it clear that those responsible are not welcome at Turf Moor.

“This, in no way, represents what Burnley Football Club stands for and we will work fully with the authorities to identify those responsible and take appropriate action.

“The club has a proud record of working with all genders, religions and faiths through its award-winning Community scheme, and stands against racism of any kind.

“We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative and, in line with all other Premier League games undertaken since Project Restart, our players and football staff willingly took the knee at kick-off at Manchester City.

“We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in