Journalists support footballer Raheem Sterling's claim press coverage 'fuels racism' following alleged abuse from fan
Football journalists have supported England player Raheem Sterlingâ€™s claim that the media “fuels racism” after he faced alleged abuse during a match on Saturday.
Manchester City forward Sterling was the target of alleged racist abuse during the first half of the sideâ€™s game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.Â Chelsea FC and police are now investigating the incident.
In an Instagram postÂ on Sunday, Sterling used two screenshots, one of a Daily Mail story and one of a Mail Online story, to illustrate his claim that the press treated black footballers unfairly compared to their white peers.
He said: â€œThe young black kid is looked at in a bad light, which helps fuel racism, an aggressive behaviour.
â€œSo for all the newspapers that donâ€™t understand why people are racist in this day and age, all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity, and give all players an equal chance.â€�
In a column for The Times, chief football writer Henry Winter supported Sterling, arguing that â€œinaccurate criticismâ€� and â€œrelentless targetingâ€� had created a “toxic climate”.
He added that media portrayals of Sterling as a â€œwayward blind kidâ€� were a â€œcomplete lieâ€� and criticised outlets for publishing â€œbreathless pieces dripping with sanctimony about his new house being close to a dogging site, ignoring the fact that some well-known [white] neighbours live closerâ€�.
A story by formerÂ Mail Online reporter Anthony JosephÂ was among those shared by Sterling.Â He said Sterling had raised â€œsome very valid pointsâ€� that the media â€œneeded to listen toâ€�.
Defending his own story, JosephÂ said: â€œThe story was done at a time when BT had a documentary on teenage footballers earning millions.
â€œIt was topical and there was a huge debate about it. The same day there was at least an hour segment about it on Talksport. The original story, which I followed up, appeared in The Sun.
â€œI spoke to the playerâ€™s agent, who had no issue with story and how it was represented. Reporters donâ€™t do headlines, but I still donâ€™t feel it vilifies him. It was just topical at the time, nor did I even make a connection of his colour – it didnâ€™t even cross my mind.â€�
Joseph added that Sterling raised â€œsome very valid pointsâ€� that the media “needed to listen to”.
In a comment piece for The Guardian, broadcaster and former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore praised Sterlingâ€™s statement this Sunday and weighed in on tabloid coverage of BAME sports personalities.
He wrote: â€œSterling has, of course, experienced [media racism] first-hand â€“ the stories about his expensive sink and his Easy Jet flight, lazy tabloid tales told by lazy tabloid journalists, painting him out to be a villain, the black kid riding around in a hoodie ready to knife you and your family at any given moment â€“ and heâ€™s finally had enough.”
Press Gazette has contacted Mail Online and the Daily Mail for responses to the post.
Picture: Reuters/Darren Staples
Source: Digital Journalism