Tyrone Mings: Priti Patel 'one of many' who 'oppose... or refuse to defend' England players taking knee

Tyrone Mings on why Priti Patel is "entitled to her own opinion" on taking the knee

England footballer Tyrone Mings has said Priti Patel is "one of many" who "oppose... or refuse to defend" national team players taking the knee before games.

On Tuesday, Mings said he believed the home secretary is "entitled to her own opinion", after Ms Patel told GB News on Monday: “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture, gesture politics, to a certain extent.”

Ms Patel also refused to condemn football fans who had booed players for taking the knee, calling it a “choice for them” after Gareth Southgate’s side faced jeers from a minority of fans at their first match of Euro 2020. When asked about Ms Patel's comments, Mings, who also plays for Aston Villa, said: "The home secretary is one of many people that oppose us taking the knee or refuse to defend it.

England players take the knee before their first Euro 2020 match. Credit: PA

"We have our own set of beliefs and what we can do to help... we have spoken about trying to inform the minority".

Additionally, he said Ms Patel had previously invited him onto a video call, where she had seemed "so interested and engrossed" in what footballers felt should be done to tackle racial injustice.

The symbol of anti-racism solidarity gained attention in American football in 2016 as players protested against police brutality and racism in the US. The act has since spread further and was adopted by footballers in the UK, partly to demonstrate that racism should not be tolerated in the sport.

Mings insisted that "positive reaction" from many fans towards players taking the knee should not be overshadowed by those who booed.

On players from his native Scotland taking the knee, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said on Tuesday: “I think that people who want to show their strength of feeling against prejudice should have the opportunity to do so.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also called on fans to cheer rather than boo players taking the knee.