Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling has said more must be done to tackle racism in sport, adding that t-shirts and social media posts are not enough.
The 24-year-old, who has been subject to racist abuse on the pitch from crowds, said: It’s not any disrespect to Kick It Out but the campaigns, with the t-shirts and stuff, I feel it shows people what you’re trying to say but what is actually being put in place? We need to help people like Kick It Out push it a bit more.
The winger believes posts on social media have a limited and temporary impact.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: The other day the Premier League suggested to post this blackout thing. Again, it was just like ‘Ok, it goes on social media. Then people see it. But what does that do? What does that actually do? What is the outcome of that?’
Is it a campaign for three days and it blows over or are we going to do something that says, ‘this is what we’re doing and from now on. This is how it’s going to go’.
That’s what we, every player who has been in this situation, would like. I don’t think these social media posts, these t-shirts are doing anything. It’s not going to change anything.
Sterling’s aim is to get to a point where players coming out on the pitch know no one will dare to even chant one word at them.
Sterling, who was born in Jamaica but moved to the UK at the age of five, highlighted how difficult some black players find speaking out and the backlash they receive when they do.
He said: No one really says anything. No one expresses their feelings and I think that’s wrong.
But, at the same time, no one really wants any backlash or if any of it went wrong. But when I wanted to say something it was purely just to get people on the outside to understand what it’s really like for some of these players.
The attacks other players have had from a young age surprised Sterling, who said he did not have many racially abusive experiences growing up.
I probably had it lightly because I haven’t had that many experiences growing up. It was more, as I keep explaining, when I came up north.
But speaking to players like Fabian [Delph], growing up in Leeds, Bradford, and then telling me about some of their experiences, it’s crazy to know some of this stuff happens here to 15, 16-year-old kids.
We have an opportunity and a chance to make something that’s not just now but that, in 10 years’ time, players know when they get on a football field that stuff like that can’t happen.
That’s what we need to put in place. Something that makes people think more than twice.
Last month, Sterling was praised for his generosity after buying 550 tickets to this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final and donating them to students at his former school.
In 2016, he was named an ambassador for a police charity in Manchester, and in 2018 he helped with plans to launch an academy for underprivileged children.