Boos as Cambridge United and Colchester United players take a knee drowned out by applause

Players were taking a knee ahead of Cambridge-Colchester match; Cambridge head coach Mark Bonner says fans who booed have "embarrassed" club; Players across the country have been taking a knee to show their support for the fight against racial injustice and discrimination

Boos were drowned out by applause at Cambridge as they and Colchester took the knee ahead of their match. 0:21
Boos are heard at Cambridge as players take a knee ahead of the League Two clash against Colchester, before they are drowned out by applause

Boos were drowned out by applause as players took a knee at the start of Cambridge United's League Two match at home to Colchester United on Tuesday night.

When players from both teams took a knee in support of the fight against racial injustice and discrimination at the Abbey Stadium, boos were clearly audible.

However, fellow spectators quickly responded by applauding before the match got under way.

After the match, Cambridge head coach Mark Bonner described the booing as unacceptable and said a minority of supporters had embarrassed the club.

"I'm disgusted to be honest, it shines a light on our club for all the wrong reasons," he said.

Bonner, 34, was appointed as Cambridge head coach in March 1:16
Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner says fans who booed players taking a knee before their match with Colchester behaved unacceptably and embarrassed the football club.

"What was a really good game for us on the pitch was overshadowed by a really small minority that decided to boo in a moment when we're reflecting the values that everyone at our club believes in.

"It is just behaviour which is unacceptable and at our club we don't want that at all.

"What was most encouraging is the vast majority drowned them out quite quickly with applause and reflected the values of our club much better.

"We work incredibly hard in the community and there's massive work that goes on to highlight all these issues and we've clearly got some work to do because some people have embarrassed our club and embarrassed themselves to be honest."

At St James Park, one supporter booed loudly as Exeter faced Harrogate Town, only for it to be drowned out by applause once again.

Exeter later confirmed one supporter had been ejected from the stadium and promised to take "the appropriate action".

0:31
An Exeter fan was ejected for booing when players took the knee ahead of the game with Harrogate Town - and Exeter boss Matt Taylor says the fan needs to be educated about the significance of the gesture.

Exeter manager Matt Taylor said it was particularly disappointing coming just days after a Northampton Town player complained of an alleged racist comment during their Papa John's Trophy game at St James Park.

"We had a disappointing incident last week and another disappointing incident tonight," he said.

"It's always one voice which gets heard over everyone else, but we've got to understand why and educate whoever it is better than we have."

The incidents followed similar occurrences at Millwall and Colchester this month.

Championship side Millwall said they were "dismayed and saddened" by events at The Den ahead of the visit of Derby on December 5, when the long-awaited return of supporters was overshadowed by booing when players took the knee.

0:23
A section of the Millwall crowd booed as players took a knee prior to kick-off in the game against Derby on December 5

Colchester's League Two game with Grimsby on the same day was preceded by fans booing the players' anti-racism gesture before kick-off.

The Essex club's owner Robbie Cowling said afterwards that fans who want to boo players taking the knee should not attend matches.

Cowling said: "Those taking the knee, and supporting the taking of the knee, not only show their willingness to support the drive to eradicate racial oppression but force it to be a talking point even when it's uncomfortable.

"Maybe those that booed on Saturday might now understand what this gesture means to our club and will at the very least remain silent during future games whilst the players continue to take the knee before each kick-off.

Colchester United 1:17
Sport England board member Chris Grant praises Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling for his response after a small minority of the club's fans booed their own players for taking the knee last weekend.

"Alternatively, they should just stay away from our club because anyone that still wants to boo now that I have explained the purpose and importance of the taking of the knee is not welcome at our club.

"I will be happy to refund anyone for the remaining value of their season permit if that is the reason they feel they can no longer attend our games."

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