Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley said there has been a “shameful silence” over the criticism of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling.
Sterling was the focus of negative attention in parts of the media for a tattoo on his leg depicting a gun. He has also been in the newspapers for driving an unwashed car, shopping at a discount store and buying sausage rolls from the bakery Greggs.
Despite England’s run to the World Cup semifinals yielding widespread praise across the country, Sterling’s performances were often the subject of criticism — and Lord Ouseley has called on English football’s governing bodies to give the former Liverpool man some support.
“Where is the FA on this?” Lord Ouseley, who founded Kick It Out to tackle racism and discrimination in football 25 years ago, wrote in his weekly column for The Voice. “Where is the Premier League on this? Where are the PFA and LMA on this?
“Where are the voices of the leaders in football on this? Are they happy to see a young black talent driven out of the English game because he is vilified unreasonably and unjustifiably while the governing bodies maintained a shameful silence?”
Lord Ouseley added that Sterling’s career should be celebrated and claimed that the criticism from various tabloid outlets is drawn from bitterness at seeing a young, black man enjoy success.
“The 23-year-old is successful and well-off by anybody’s standards,” Lord Ouseley added of Sterling. “The red-top sniping at him does smack of resentment towards a young, black man from humble roots, as if he’s somehow not entitled to enjoy the fruits of his hard work, talent and dedication.”
Ian Wright recently told BBC Radio 5 live that the constant criticism of Sterling was “motivated by racism” — and Lord Ouseley praised the former Arsenal striker for his public comments.
“Ian Wright has spoken out and I applaud him for it,” Lord Ouseley said. “We at Kick It Out will speak out too – how many influential figures in the game will join us?”