Sterling accuses the press of ‘fuelling racism’ following racist abuse

28th Dec 2018
Sterling accuses the press of ‘fuelling racism’ following racist abuse

(Photo: Joshjdss/Wiki Common)

Elham Asaad Buaras

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling slammed sections of the press of helping to “fuel racism” with their portrayal of black footballers.

The 24-year-old England international who is of Afro Caribbean descent made the comment after he was allegedly subjected to vile racist abuse during City’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

The Met Police and Chelsea have both confirmed they are investigating an incident during the first half of the game at Stamford Bridge on December 8.

Social media footage was posted of Chelsea supporters leaning forward screaming obscenities and one white fan screaming “f***ing black c**t” at Sterling as he retrieved a ball from beyond the touchline. The fan was later identified as Colin Wing, 60, from Beckenham, South-east London.

Five stewards approached Wing just before the final whistle and, having allowed him to watch the last few minutes of stoppage time, appeared to accompany him away from his seat at the end of the game.

Wing who lost his job and season ticked later told the media he has been questioned by police.

Wing said he apologised “unreservedly” to Sterling but insisted he did not refer to him as a “black c**t” but as a “Manc c**t”. The police have since confirmed no arrest was made.

According to figures from Kick It Out, reports of discriminatory abuse in football increased 11 per cent last season – a sixth successive annual rise.

The incident came after a troubling week for football which saw a Tottenham Hotspur supporter arrested for throwing a banana skin at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during Arsenal’s derby victory at the Emirates stadium.

Two people were also arrested in Edinburgh for allegedly directing racial abuse at Motherwell’s Christian Mbulu during his side’s defeat at Hearts, with the anti-discrimination body, Kick it Out, calling for leaders in football to take a more proactive approach in dealing with racism in the sport.

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) condemned the increase in racial abuse its members have been receiving and encourage all clubs to “take the strongest possible action for fans found guilty of racially abusing players”.

In a statement to The Muslim News the PFA said: “While it may be true that no racial slurs have been used in the press coverage received by Raheem and others, we are in no doubt that the negative narrative influences public opinion and emboldens racist rhetoric.”

Simone Pound, PFA Head of Equality & Diversity, said: “Raheem has made a stand by speaking out and we stand shoulder to shoulder with him against the discrimination of which he speaks. We all have a part to play in tackling racism and discrimination and certain sectors of the media must be held to account.

“The PFA are resolute in their work, challenging and tackling equality issues on behalf of the players.”

Sterling took to Instagram to suggest he was not surprised by the incident. “I just want to say, I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point heard I will speak up,” he posted. “Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game, as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect better.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrKYvF3gH9e/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

(click on link- instagram.com/sterling7)

Sterling screen-grabbed a story that had appeared on MailOnline last January about his club-mate, Tosin Adarabioyo, under the headline: ‘Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on a mansion on market for £2.25m despite having never started a Premier League match’. He went on to reference another story from October about City’s teenage midfielder, Phil Foden, buying a house which had carried the headline: ‘Foden buys a new £2m home for his mum’.

“You have two young players starting out their careers – both play for the same team, both have done the right thing, which is buying a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are,” wrote Sterling. “But look at how the newspapers get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player. I think this is unacceptable, both innocent, have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded.

“The young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an[d] aggressive behaviour. So for all the newspapers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an[d] give all players an equal chance.”

Sterling is no stranger to negative headlines. Coverage of his private life has scrutinised his choices to shop at Poundland, travel on a budget airline, and bizarrely even about him getting breakfast.

Chelsea have pledged to take action and have requested video from broadcasters BT.

“We take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and will work with the clubs and the relevant authorities to ensure this matter is dealt with appropriately,” said the FA in a statement. “We strongly condemn all forms of discrimination and encourage all fans and participants who believe that they have been the subject of, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report it through the appropriate channels: the FA, our County FAs or our partners Kick It Out.”

However, Kick It Out accused the FA leadership of failing to speak out and relying “on Kick It Out. We have already made comments about the way Raheem Sterling has been treated differently by the media. ”

Kick It Out asked, “Where is (Premier League Executive Chairman) Richard Scudamore? Where is (FA chairman) Greg Clarke? Where is Chelsea’s Chairman (Bruce Buck)? They should have been talking about it last night and it has to be dealt with at the top.”

Police Scotland have been given footage which shows around 20 fans in the main stand at Tynecastle shouting comments at the Mbulu, 22, as the substitute warmed up on the touchline. The Motherwell Manager, Stephen Robinson, described the abuse as “dark ages and dinosaur stuff”. Hearts have confirmed they are cooperating fully with the police in their enquiries, with anyone found to have abused Mbulu to receive indefinite bans.

The Premier League is also having to deal the rise on Anti-Muslim fan groups in the stands.

In March the Premier League has warned football clubs about the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) after claims it is using publicity surrounding high-profile matches to promote an anti-migrant and anti-Muslim agenda.

Social media posts by DFLA supporters have focused on anti-migrant and anti-Muslim messages.

The Premier League has held talks with police chiefs about the group and warned clubs about the group’s banners inside the grounds.

DFLA banners have been seen at some groups. Newcastle United said that it would stop DFLA banners and flags being shown at games. The group said it had displayed 50 flags at football clubs.

Mark Phillips, a ​West Ham under 18s coach, attended the DFLA march. Phillips was initially suspended by the club in October but was allowed to return in November with no further punishment.

A spokesman for the Premier League said “These reports are very concerning and, while it is up to individual clubs to determine which banners and flags they allow in their stadiums, we will bring this to their attention. Premier League football is open to everyone and clubs work hard to encourage welcoming and friendly environments in their stadiums.”

Critics say the DFLA used as a vehicle by high-profile far-right campaigners including Tommy Robinson, a prominent activist with convictions for violence.

The group’s official Twitter page has also re-tweeted comments including “The UK is a Christian country but allowed Muslims in” and “If your (sic) worried about the Muslim invasion, then the FLA is where it’s at now”.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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