Tyrone Mings has called on the largely positive response to England players taking the knee not to be overshadowed by jeers, after Priti Patel said she did not support the gesture.
The England team knelt ahead of kick-off in their Euro 2020 victory over Croatia on Sunday, where a vocal minority within Wembley continued to boo the anti-racism stance.
It followed more vociferous jeering in the two warm-up matches at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium and despite calls from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, England boss Gareth Southgate and the Football Association not to react negatively to the gesture.
England’s players have insisted they will continue to take the knee despite the protestations of some and that the message should not get lost.
“Understandably, when you have such strong beliefs there will be opposition to that,” said Aston Villa defender Mings.
“So we spoke about it a lot, we spoke about trying to educate or trying to inform the minority who refuse to acknowledge why we’re taking the knee and want to do 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 the minority that refuse to accept what the reasons are, or don’t agree with them.”
While Johnson called on fans to cheer, rather than boo, the taking of the knee, Home Secretary Patel did not agree, telling GB News she doesn’t “support people participating in that type of gesture politics”.
“To the Home Secretary, I don’t really have a direct message,” added Mings.
“I mean we spoke, actually she invited me onto a Zoom call once, where she seemed so interested and engrossed in the players’ 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 and 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 and there will be players that can be influential and can stand up for what we believe in.”