The Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling says “now is the time to act” against racism. The topic has been on the global agenda in recent weeks, with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining rapid traction in the US following the death of George Floyd.
Racism has also become a subject of sport, with players and coaches complaining about a scarcity of jobs for black people when the Premier League requested jerseys on the back to donate the Black Lives Matter slogan instead of the team names for the first round of matches after the restart.
Sterling says black people are “tired” and they have been calling for change.
“I feel like I’m speaking for most black people, everyone is tired. You see what’s going on in America coming to the UK with the riots going on. Many people have been in silence and are using this time as a moment to be one and trying not just to get answers but also to improve society,” he said on Sky Sports.
“People like me who have a voice that aims to get these messages in the right ways to have conversations that can cause progress. I’m not someone who has the most solutions in the world or who knows exactly what to do, so we just have to show the issues that people face in their daily life aspects. It’s something that’s coming up a lot more that’s a positive thing. I just think it’s time for us to move now. I’m doing my bit in the background,” he added.
Sterling was on the receiving end of violence by fans in England and Europe but has confirmed in the past that it was not limited to the terraces alone.
He has talked of team-mates in the locker room making unjudged remarks.
He said, “Yeah, no doubt subtle remarks. It’s going on today. It’s in a jokey way because if you haven’t heard it you don’t know what it means to the person you ‘re saying it to, you have to understand the same people. It’s happened in the past, I can’t say it’s too new, but it’s happened in the past, in the dressing room, where I made sneaky remarks.”
A tribute to the NHS for their efforts during the coronavirus outbreak will follow the Black Lives Matter campaign on clubs’ shirts and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says the messages are not overtly political.
“I wouldn’t see what ‘s going on in terms of messages being blatantly political, I see them as declarations of ethics and principles. We spoke to the players about how they wanted to respond to the two major issues – COVID and the reaction to events in America, and they made it clear what they wanted to do to us and we and the clubs were happy to help them, just like the PFA and LMA were doing.”
“We ‘re relaxed, completely happy listening to the players where they have strong opinions and they’re entitled to share them. I don’t see them as blatantly democratic. We ‘re trying to get messages out unifying,” Masters said.