World: U.K. Soccer Star Tyrone Mings Surprised Home Secretary Priti Patel Doesn't Support Players Kneeling

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British Home Secretary Priti Patel's stance on players taking a knee to protest racism appeared to surprise England defender Tyrone Mings, who had previously spoken with Patel about the race issues.

a man in a blue shirt: BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Tyrone Mings of England reacts as he speaks during an England Press Conference after the England Training Session at St George's Park on June 15, 2021 in Burton upon Trent, England. © Carl Recine/Pool/Getty Images BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Tyrone Mings of England reacts as he speaks during an England Press Conference after the England Training Session at St George's Park on June 15, 2021 in Burton upon Trent, England.

Mings said Patel seemed "interested and engrossed" in his perspective during a Zoom call Patel invited him onto to share his thoughts on racism. Patel has since opposed players kneeling or making gestures to signal their support for the anti-racist movement.

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Mings said he hopes education will help Patel and others understand why the players are kneeling.

"The home secretary is one of many, many people that oppose us taking the knee or refuse to defend it," Mings said Tuesday at England's St. George's Park training headquarters. "We have our own set of beliefs and what we think we can do to help, that players can be influential and stand up for what we believe in.

"Understandably when you have such strong beliefs, there will be opposition to that," he said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Taking a knee has now pitted a British government official against the England team in their campaign against racial injustice.

Patel has directly opposed players taking part in the anti-racism gesture before games at the European Championship.

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That's a step further than what Prime Minister Boris Johnson's stance has been, saying he doesn't want to see England fans booing players who do it, though he hasn't come out in support of taking a knee.

Patel said in an interview with the GB News TV channel that she didn't support people participating in "gesture politics."

The players have agreed collectively to continue taking a knee despite it being booed by sections of their own fans, including ahead of kickoff on Sunday when England opened its European Championship campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley Stadium.

"We've spoken about trying to educate or trying to inform the minority who refuse to acknowledge why we're taking the knee and want to boo it," Mings said. "But at the same time in Wembley there was a hugely positive reaction to us taking the knee as well and I don't that should be overshadowed by the minority who refuse to accept what the reasons are or don't agree with them."

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a baseball player pitching a ball on a field: England's Raheem Sterling, left, takes the knee before the start of the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between England and Croatia at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, June 13, 2021. Frank Augstein, Pool/AP Photo © Frank Augstein, Pool/AP Photo England's Raheem Sterling, left, takes the knee before the start of the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between England and Croatia at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, June 13, 2021. Frank Augstein, Pool/AP Photo

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