Some Millwall fans booed players taking a knee at the start of the Championship match against Derby County on Saturday.
It is the first time supporters have been allowed into The Den this season, following the lifting of the second national lockdown on 2 December.
The boos rang out as the two teams took a knee before kick-off in a game in which Wayne Rooney’s Rams won 1-0.
“It is just disheartening. How do these fans get allocated to the games?” said former England defender Micah Richards.
Players, officials, and staff at Premier League and English Football League games have been taking a knee pre-match since football restarted in June in order to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality.
Richards told BBC TV’s Final Score: “There are 2,000 so you can pinpoint the people going. There are no excuses. I am sick to death of talking about this situation.
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“It is so disheartening because it is like we have come so far but we have so far to go. I don’t even like talking about the matter. It feels like it falls on deaf ears. It is time and time and time again.”‘The minority of fans spoiling the club’s image’Former Coventry and Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin, who had a loan spell at Millwall in 2002, added: “They don’t agree with taking the knee, which means they are racist. They don’t agree with Black Lives Matter; that says they are racist to me.”It says to me that a minority of Millwall fans are spoiling it for a club that is going in the right direction with a tag they have had for years and years and they are trying to eradicate it.”A Football Association spokesperson said: “The FA supports all players and staff that wish to take a stand against discrimination in a respectful manner, which includes taking of the knee, and strongly condemns the behaviors of any spectators that actively voice their opposition to such activities.”The match itself saw Derby end a 12-match winless streak with Jason Knight netting the winning goal midway through the second half after Millwall keeper Bartosz Bialkowski had saved from Martyn Waghorn.