Raheem Sterling 'furious' after former Liverpool official says he and 4 other black stars 'could be in jail if not for football'

24 March 2024, 13:37

Raheem Sterling was offended by Stuart Webber's claim he could have ended up in jail if not for football
Raheem Sterling was offended by Stuart Webber's claim he could have ended up in jail if not for football. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Raheem Sterling is said to have reacted with fury after a former Liverpool official said he and four other black players could be in jail if they hadn't achieved success in football.

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Stuart Webber, who was head of youth recruitment at Liverpool from 2009-2012 and left his job as sporting director at Norwich in November, made the comments while discussing a charity climb of Mount Everest.

He was referring to Sterling, who he signed for Liverpool as a youngster in 2010, former Norwich players Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, Norwich striker Abu Kamara and Norwich winger Jonathan Rowe.

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Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling. Picture: Getty

Speaking in an interview with local paper The Pink Un, Webber said of his charity efforts: "We want to help the guys who really need it, not the ones who are maybe privileged. I saw that with our young footballers.

"Jonny Rowe wouldn’t mind me saying it but him, Abu Kamara, Max (Aarons), Jamal (Lewis), Raheem (Sterling) back in the day at Liverpool, where they come from it had to work out for them in football, because the alternative is potentially jail or something else."

Stuart Webber
Stuart Webber. Picture: Getty

All of the players, including Sterling, were offended by Webber's comments, for which Webber has since apologised.

He is said to be "gutted" by his mistake, and has contacted the players and their families to say sorry.

But Troy Townsend of anti-racist football organisation Kick it Out slammed Webber for his remarks.

"Racially profiling current and former players," he said. "Football or jail is it then? Absolute disgrace!"

The players' families also reacted with fury at the suggestion they could have ended up in prison. Aarons' mother Amber said Webber's words amounted to "casual racism".

Max Aarons
Max Aarons. Picture: Getty

She posted on Twitter: "I’m shocked at Stuart Webber's casual racism and blatant disrespect for all of these black players and their families.

"As @maxaarons2 mum and a good friend of @jamal_lewis1 mum I know there is not a chance any of those boys, now would have been in jail."

Lewis' mother, Catrina, also said: 'That’s not true at all…. Very unprofessional comment to make!!! How can that assumption be made Stuart???"

Aarons' mother said in reply: "Inherent racism, I can’t think of more professional and level headed people than the players SW has labelled."

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