Sterling: “This is the most important thing at this moment in time because this is something that is happening for years and years”

Raheem Sterling has spoken out in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the United States
Sterling

Raheem Sterling has given his backing to the anti-racism protests gripping the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the United States.

Thousands of people have taken part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the UK over the weekend, with protests taking place in London, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Manchester City and England forward has been integral in tackling the issue and vows to continue to speak out in the hope it will contribute to lasting change.

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Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Sterling said: “I know this might sound a little bit cheesy but the only disease right now is the racism that we are fighting.

“This is the most important thing at this moment in time because this is something that is happening for years and years. Just like the pandemic, we want to find a solution to stop it.

Sterling backing black life matters

“At the same time, this is what all these protesters are doing. They are trying to find a solution and a way to stop the injustice they are seeing, and they are fighting for their cause.

“As long as they are doing it peacefully and safely and not hurting anybody and not breaking into any stores, they continue to protest in this peaceful way.”

Sterling has previously challenged the British media’s perception of black players and taken a lead in calling out racism in both the domestic and international game.

Last year he counselled fellow professionals against walking off the pitch in the event of racial abuse, and has also called for the establishment of a player-led anti-racism task-force.

Racism is a pandemic according to sterling

But Sterling believes it is now time for the talking to develop into real change in order to go further in banishing the scourge of racism from sport and wider society for good.

Sterling added: “There’s only so much communities and other backgrounds can take – especially black people.

“It’s been going on for hundreds of years and people are tired and people are ready for change.

“This is something that needs more than just talking. We need to actually implement change and highlight the places that do need changes.

“But this is something that I myself will continue to do, and spark these debates and get people in my industry looking at themselves and thinking what they can do to give people an equal chance in this country.”

Earle: I’ve felt vulnerable in US

Former Wimbledon midfielder Robbie Earle works in America as an analyst for NBC’s coverage of the Premier League.

On a podcast, he spoke to his NBC colleague Robbie Mustoe about how racism in the United States affects him.

“It’s the first time in this country that I’ve felt a vulnerability that I may not be safe and secure,” he said.

“About a week ago I was out one evening taking my dogs out, and I remember a police car coming past me and I’ve got to be honest, my heart started pumping and I started to think to myself ‘what if’.

“When I’m Robbie Earle I kind of feel that’s a safer place for me because people know me and I’m kind of safe and everything’s okay, but when I’m a person of colour in a hoodie and sweaters walking my dog around my neighbourhood I think I fit a stereotype that some people, some policemen as we’ve seen recently are uncomfortable with.

“It has made me feel a little bit vulnerable, and it has made me think about things in different ways.”