England defender Tyrone Mings says home secretary Priti Patel should not overshadow positivity around taking the knee
England defender Tyrone Mings insists the squad will continue taking the knee before games as an anti-racism protest despite criticism from the UK's home secretary Priti Patel who believes England fans have a right to boo and described the players' actions as "gesture politics". The Aston Villa defender said they are trying to educate people.
‘We are trying to educate and inform a minority’ – Mings hits back at Patel
England defender Tyrone Mings believes criticism by the UK's home secretary Priti Patel about players taking the knee should not overshadow the positivity around anti-racism protests.
England's players took a knee at Wembley before Sunday's victory in their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia with applause largely drowning out boos from a minority of spectators.
Patel said on Monday that England fans have a right to boo and described the players' actions as "gesture politics" while her Cabinet colleague Michael Gove said people should have the opportunity to show their strength of feeling against prejudice”.
Critics of the gesture have cited links to political movements as their reason for jeering but England's players and manager Gareth Southgate have explained that taking a knee is an anti-racism protest.
Jude Bellingham and Tyrone Mings of England take the knee ahead of the international friendly match between England and Austria
Image credit: Getty Images
Mings, 28, said: "To the home secretary - I don't really have a direct message.
"We spoke and she invited me onto a Zoom call once, where she seemed so interested and engrossed in players' kind of point of view and what we could do more to tackle these sort of issues.
"But at the same time, everybody's entitled to their own opinion. The home secretary is one of many, many people that oppose us taking the knee, or refuse to defend it.
"We have our own set of beliefs and what we think we can do to help or be players that can be influential and can stand up for what we believe in, and understandably when you have such strong beliefs there will be opposition to that."
Aston Villa defender Mings played the full 90 minutes as England beat Croatia 1-0 in their Group D opener. The Three Lions clash with Scotland, who lost their opening game to the Czech Republic, on Friday at Wembley.
Trailblazers - Colin Kaepernick: Taking the knee to demand social justice
Mings added: "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 think that should be overshadowed by a minority that refuse to accept what the reasons or don't agree with them."