SINCE it resumed play last week, English professional football has featured stage-managed kneeling – a theatrical display of support for Black Lives Matter which some players, including the newly-sainted Marcus Rashford, have embellished with clenched-fist salutes.
This Black Power pantomime now has its villain in Jake Hepple, the Burnley supporter who arranged the dissenting banner which on Monday evening flew over Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
As soon as the words ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ were spotted, talkSPORT reported it as ‘an absolute disgrace’, thereby setting the tone for the media coverage which followed.
With a portfolio which includes some rancid social media postings and the inevitable photo taken with Tommy Robinson, Jake Hepple came direct from Central Casting. ‘White Lives Matter’ is one of his more moderate musings.
Nonetheless, many other football fans are equally disgusted by teams genuflecting to the divisive and dangerous Black Lives Matter.
Not that there was any recognition of this from the Telegraph’s chief sports writer Paul Hayward. Seemingly angling for a return to his old job at the right-on Guardian, Hayward contemptuously dismissed the flypast’s message as the ‘counter-strike by those who want to prevent change, by people who feel threatened and resentful about losing ingrained privilege’.
Hayward is entitled to criticise the ‘people behind the banner’ for being provocative; however, Burnley’s white working class will be both shocked and amused to learn that they hitherto enjoyed ‘ingrained privilege’.
From Hayward’s writing, one would never know Black Lives Matter UK to be on the lunatic Left. In the blurb accompanying its GOFundMe appeal (which since the start of June has suckered over £1million), the Marxist mob brazenly commits to ‘dismantle imperialism, capitalism, white-supremacy, patriarchy and the state structures that disproportionately harm black people’.
In its mission to upend society as we know it, BLMUK also vows to abolish the police, despite which Lancashire Constabulary eagerly sought to placate Black Lives Matter by investigating the flying of the offending banner. No doubt it was with regret that Chief Superintendent Russ Procter announced: ‘We have concluded that there are no criminal offences that have been disclosed at this time.’
In spite of which, Jake Hepple and his girlfriend Megan Rambadt have both been sacked from their jobs.
Hepple also faces a life ban from attending Burnley’s Turf Moor ground, although wags have suggested that a more severe sanction would be to force Hepple to watch every fixture. And for added punishment, be seated next to ‘celebrity’ supporter Alastair Campbell.
The plane which displayed the banner ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ took off from Blackpool Airport, which also immediately signalled its virtue: ‘We stand against racism of any kind and absolutely do not condone the activity, the message was offensive and the action reprehensible.’
Despite nothing illegal having occurred, currently Blackpool Council has suspended all banner flights from the airfield, thereby shutting down an entirely legitimate aerial advertising business.
Not that it would have mattered what had appeared on the banner: Even an inclusive message such as ‘All Lives Matter’ would be verboten and deemed racist because, as Sky Sports News presenter Mike Wedderburn asserts below, alternative slogans are a ‘deliberate challenge to the Black Lives Matter cause’.
Wedderburn even goes on to make the slanderous accusation: ‘Black people have been murdered by members of organisations whose job it is to protect us and there has been no comeback on these people. And that’s not just in America, that’s here too. Our lives have not mattered.’
Yes, according to a mainstream broadcaster, as in America black Britons are routinely being murdered by police, with impunity. Black Lives Matter, but evidently facts and truth are less important.
So what does Mark Alford, director of Sky Sports News, think? Will he be reprimanding Wedderburn and issuing an apology? Given Alford’s journalistic experience does he think this comment from his reporter – one of the 300 he says he is responsible for – was acceptable ?