'Seething' caller says after 35 years racism is still prevalent in football

13 July 2021, 11:02

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This caller says after 35 years very little has changed when it comes to racism in football.

Richard in Bristol told James his theory was that "Priti Patel is pretty much what she is, she doesn't care about the footballers."

The conversation comes after England footballer Tyrone Mings hit out at Priti Patel in her condemnation of the racist abuse faced by his teammates, after she previously called players taking the knee "gesture politics".

Richard said he believed when certain ethnic minority individuals reached positions of power in government that they found it hard to stand up for people of colour.

Telling James he was "seething," Richard said he had been seeing it "for the past 35-years."

Going back to football, the caller said he was left crying in Wembley due to the treatment received by John Barnes.

"Listening to the abhorrent, obscene gestures they're giving to a footballer wearing an England shirt."

The caller said, "35 years has gone, nothing has changed."

"Every black footballer, footballer of colour dignified themselves by letting it go over their heads," Richard said explaining "I could not do that."

Revealing he had played football, "to a certain level," Richard said when he had received verbal abuse on the pitch he would go and confront those fans, "in the stands."

Richard said he was a football fan who "doesn't go to football anymore and very rarely watches it on TV."

In an emotional explanation of his stance, he said all he would be able to do to show how he was left feeling, Richard said he would refuse to play for England.

"I'm not going to play for you, I'm not going to play for my country who is going to boo me when I'm out there doing my best and because of the colour of my skin."

Richard said the footballers were "doing the right thing, but we're not backing them up."

Politicians and public figures have slammed the racist hate faced by England players, in particular Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, on social media following their Euro 2020 final defeat.

The Home Secretary was among those to criticise the "vile" racist abuse that the players have been subjected to, writing on Twitter: "It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable."

However, in a response posted on Twitter, England defender Mings claimed Ms Patel had "stoke(d) the fire" after she previously refused to criticise fans who booed the team for taking the knee in protest against racial injustice.

He said: "You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'Gesture Politics' & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we're campaigning against, happens."

Ms Patel declined to comment on his tweet.