After reportedly being called a “f*****g black c***” by fans during the Chelsea vs. Manchester City match on Saturday, December 8, Raheem Sterling took to his Instagram page to share that he is unsurprised by the racial abuse — partly thanks to what he claims is a different media portrayal of black players as compared to their white counterparts.
In the Instagram post, the Manchester City star wrote that he had to laugh at the verbal abuse, because he expects “no better.” The forward, who turned 24 on Saturday, shared screen grabs of two different headlines published by the Daily Mail which report on two young soccer players — one black and one white — after buying expensive homes, the BBC noted.
The first headline reads: “Young Manchester City footballer, 20, on £25,000 a week splashes out on mansion on market for £2.25 million despite having never started a Premier League match,” accompanied by a photo of the black player. The second headline, which regards a white players, reads: “Manchester City starlet Phil Foden buys new £2m home for his mum.”
Sterling paired the photos with a lengthy message arguing that the disparity with which the media reports on black players sets a tone that allows for the type of behavior that he was subjected to at Stamford Bridge.
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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 news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in 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.
“I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point heard I will speak up,” he wrote as part of his message. “Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I expect no better… This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behavior.”
As the Daily Mail reported, cameras caught some Chelsea fans shouting at Sterling as he was picking up the ball from behind the goal. One of the men appears to shout “f****** black c***” shortly before Sterling is filmed laughing, and briefly shaking his head. As per the BBC report, Chelsea has suspended four fans from attending matches as police continue to investigate the incident.
“Chelsea finds all forms of discriminatory behavior abhorrent and, if there is evidence of ticket holders taking part in any racist behavior, the club will issue severe sanctions, including bans. We will also fully support any criminal prosecutions,” the club said in a statement, shared by the Guardian.
Sterling has received public support from players and soccer fans alike on social media. On Sunday, former professional footballer — and current sports broadcaster — Gary Lineker wrote on his Twitter account that Sterling makes a good point. Lineker applauded Sterling for publicly addressing the issue.
“He most certainly has a point. It’s brave and right that @sterling7 speaks out,” Lineker tweeted in response to Sterling’s criticism of the media.