A friend was recently excited to get a ticket for the final game of West Ham’s season at the London Stadium.

He recalled how his young son said before the game started, how he hoped the crowd did not boo when the players took the knee.

Sadly, there was some booing. This trend has seemingly returned, as the fans have come back into stadiums.

Some among these small attendances seem to believe they have to register their protest. Or put another way, maybe they are just racists?

The same thing has happened with the England games. TV pundit and former player Gary Lineker put it well when he said: “If you boo @England players for taking the knee, you’re part of the reason why players are taking the knee.”

The response of this small minority of fans to this act of solidarity really is quite abhorrent.

The taking of the knee was a football response to the Black Lives Matter movement that grew incredibly across the world following the terrible murder last year of George Floyd in America.

Black footballers have for many years suffered terrible racist abuse, going back to the chanting and throwing of banana skins onto the field during the 1970s and 80s.

The Black pioneers like West Ham’s Clyde Best, West Brom’s Cyril Regis, Brendan Batson and Laurie Cunningham had to deal with this abuse. Best had to be given police protection at one point due to a death threat.

Things have improved over recent years but not as much as some like to think. The racist abuse, particularly online, against black players like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Stirling has been horrendous. The dignified response of the Rashford and Stirling, among many others, should be applauded.

Everyone needs to come together in society to drive out this vile racism. The taking of the knee is a dignified gesture of solidarity against racism. That racism needs to be called out, wherever it occurs. Fortunately, at football games, the majority of fans have reacted, by clapping to drown out the boos.

The clubs have taken action to drive out racism. But there is a duty on all of us to call out racism wherever it is happening – in the football grounds, at work and on the streets.