THE Burnley fan behind the ‘White Lives Matter’ banner has been sacked from his job.
Jake Hepple, 24, has had his employment at engineering firm Paradigm Precision terminated after police said “no criminal offences” were committed by his stunt.
The company, who make products for gas turbine engines, said they “do not condone or tolerate racism in any form”.
Burnley FC said they were “ashamed and embarrassed” after the banner appeared over the Etihad Stadium for the Clarets’ clash against Man City on Monday.
Hepple’s idea to fly the message was slammed by players and the footballing community in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
But the Burnley fan insisted everything had been “blown out of proportion”.
He told The Mail Online: “The police told me that I haven’t committed any crime and haven’t done anything wrong.
“In fact, they asked me if I was OK and wanted any protection, just in case people try to target me.”
Hepple, who has previously been pictured with English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, said he wasn’t racist – and that he had “lots of Black and Asian friends”.
He said: “We were not trying to offend the movement or black people. I believe that it’s also important to acknowledge that white lives matter too. That’s all we were trying to say.”
Hepple had claimed responsibility for the stunt on Facebook just moments after the plane flew over the stadium, writing: “I’d like to take this time to apologise… to absolutely f***ing nobody!”
Cops will not seek a criminal charge after they said no offence had taken place.
Ch Supt Russ Procter said: “After assessing all the information available surrounding this incident we have concluded that there are no criminal offences that have been disclosed at this time.”
The banner was flown over the ground minutes after players took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter.
Burnley have said Hepple faces a lifetime ban from the club and captain Ben Mee condemned the banner.
Mee, 30, said his team-mates were “ashamed” of the stunt.
A Clarets statement in support of their skipper read: “Burnley Football Club is opposed to any form of racism and discrimination of any kind.
“As custodians of the club, we stand firmly behind the statement condemning the message flown over the Etihad Stadium on Monday night and are fully in support of the words of club captain Ben Mee, delivered after the match.
“Black Lives Matter is a movement supported by all players in the Premier League and the league itself.
“We at Burnley therefore stand firmly behind it and oppose anything that may appear to undermine or challenge such a positive message.”
By: Sam Morgan
Title: Burnley fan Jake Hepple SACKED by engineering firm over ‘White Lives Matter’ banner flown over Etihad
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/11944828/white-lives-matter-banner-man-sacked/
Published Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 16:43:54 +0000