Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo has hit out at home supporters who booed the players for taking the knee in their 1-0 defeat to Derby County on Saturday afternoon, admitting this is 'the lowest' he's felt during his five years at the club.
Romeo, born in London, was horrified by Millwall fans' behaviour prior to kickoff, after they used their first home game back in the stadium to voice their anger at the taking of the knee, a sign of solidarity against racism and discrimination.
Speaking to the South London Press, Romeo gave an impassioned interview, explaining that in 'society there is a problem', and the fans who booed the act have 'disrespected not just him but the football club'.
"Today's [Saturday] game, to me now, has become irrelevant. The fans have been let back in - which the whole team was looking forward to. But in society there is a problem - and that problem is racism.
"The fans who have been let in today have personally disrespected not just me but the football club. And what the football club and the community stand for. What they've done is booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which was put in place to highlight, combat and stop any discriminatory behaviour and racism. That's it - that's all that gesture is.
"And the fans have chosen to boo that, which for the life of me I can't understand. It has offended me and everyone who works for this club - the players and the staff.
"I'm speaking on behalf of myself here - not any of the other players - I want to make that very clear. This is the first time I feel disrespected. Because you have booed and condemned a peaceful gesture which - and it needs repeating - was put in place to highlight, combat and tackle any discriminatory behaviour and racism in general."
Romeo then admitted that the fans' behaviour has left him feeling 'the lowest he's felt in his time at this club', and the booing made him feel 'very small and personally disrespected.'
"I'm almost lost for words. I don't know how they thought that would make me feel. I don't know what they thought taking a knee stood for. But I think I've explained it simply enough. I feel really low - probably the lowest I've felt in my time at this club.
"It's something I can't wrap my head around. People will have their beliefs and views, which everyone is entitled to. I'm not trying to stop or contain - but if your beliefs and views oppose a positive change in society then don't come to a football ground and spread them around.
"If it's negative, don't think you can come to a football ground and this is the place where you can spread hatred essentially.
"When fans are booing a peaceful gesture to highlight racism, it naturally makes you ask yourself 'why am I putting myself through this?'. I'm sure not all Millwall fans share the same opinion - it's a small collection. But if we're being realistic it made me feel very small and it made me feel personally disrespected."
Millwall have since released a statement regarding Saturday's events. It reads: "Millwall Football Club was dismayed and saddened by events which marred Saturday’s game against Derby County at The Den.
"The club has worked tirelessly in recent months to prepare for the return of supporters and what should have been a positive and exciting occasion was completely overshadowed, much to the immense disappointment and upset of those who have contributed to those efforts."