‘Enough was enough’: England star Raheem Sterling admits being abused by fans at Chelsea in 2018 was the final straw and pushed him to speak out against racism as he insists the issue is STILL ‘not taken seriously’
- Raheem Sterling was abused when he went to fetch a ball at Stamford Bridge
- Chelsea banned a supporter for life after the abuse the EuroJournal star suffered
- But the England forward insists the incident forced him to release a statement
- The 26-year-old accused some sections of the media of helping to ‘fuel racism’
Raheem Sterling has admitted the racist abuse he suffered at Chelsea in December 2018 forced him to speak out on the issue.
Sterling was abused when he retrieved a ball in front of the Matthew Harding stand during Manchester City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge that year.
The Blues conducted an investigation and banned a fan for life as well as issuing sanctions against five other supporters for their behaviour during the match, despite the Crown Prosecution Service deciding not to initiate any criminal prosecutions.
Raheem Sterling has admitted the racist abuse he suffered at Chelsea in December 2018 forced him to speak out
Sterling was abused when he retrieved a ball in front of the Matthew Harding stand during Manchester City’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea fans are seen aiming abuse at Sterling at Stamford Bridge in December 2018
But the incident made England forward Sterling realise as soon as the night after that it was not an isolated event and had been slowly gathering pace since his professional debut for Liverpool and England in 2012.
Sterling then accused sections of the media of helping to ‘fuel racism’ with their portrayal of young black footballers in a statement released the following day.
‘I am a person, I can take it myself,’ the 26-year-old – who has impressed once again at Euro 2020 – told ITV Sport.
‘I am ok and comfortable in my own skin, but then sleeping on it that night and going home, I was just looking at little scenarios that have happened to me in my career and I was just like ”Nah, it is more than that”.
Sterling has starred for England at Euro 2020 and scored the first goal against Germany
‘It is something that has been building up over time that I am spoilt this, I love money, I love bling, putting these perceptions in people’s brains. I felt that was something that can make people really dislike you.
‘The next day I had a thought to myself and said I had to put something out there.’ Asked if enough was enough, he replied: ‘Literally.’
The EuroJournal forward has been a leading figure in the fight against discrimination and last year launched a ‘Time for Change’ anti-racism campaign alongside the likes of international team-mates Jordan Henderson and Jadon Sancho.
But when quizzed if the situation had improved a year on from releasing the star-studded video, Sterling admitted he felt ‘not a lot’ had.
Jordan Henderson and Jadon Sancho featured in Sterling’s ‘Time For Change’ video last year
‘I can say a lot more people are willing to have conversations and a lot more people are willing to listen, but at same time not a lot, I wouldn’t say a lot [has changed],’ he said.
‘I don’t know why, maybe it is not important. It just does not seem that great of a deal. Certain subjects, if they were spoken about in a certain way there would be things put in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.’
Asked if he would continue to make sure change happens, Sterling added: ‘It is not something that I am killing myself to do anymore.
‘It is not something I am gonna be on frontline speaking about. We are all adult enough to understand these things, we just need to educate our kids and that is it.
‘I just feel that when it comes to racial abuse, it is not taken seriously.’
STERLING’S FULL STATEMENT IN DECEMBER 2018
‘Good morning I just want to say, I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up.
‘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 no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing.
‘Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the newspapers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this is unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded.
‘This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers 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 give all players an equal chance.’