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Campaign demands education for trio


Leicester manager Nigel Pearson is a patron of Show Racism the Red Card

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson is a patron of Show Racism the Red Card

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson is a patron of Show Racism the Red Card

Anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card has praised Leicester's actions over their shamed players and called for the trio to be educated.

The Foxes are conducting an internal investigation after footage emerged apparently showing three of the squad taking part in an offensive video, in which a Thai woman is called a "slit eye".

Defender James Pearson - the son of manager Nigel - striker Tom Hopper and goalkeeper Adam Smith have all been sent home early from the club's post-season trip to Thailand.

The video appears to show the three men naked in a hotel room laughing and egging each other on while they make racist and crude remarks as Thai women engage in sex acts.

The Barclays Premier League club are owned by father and son Vichai and ­Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, who are from Thailand.

Manager Pearson is a patron of anti-racism education charity Show Racism the Red Card and the group feels the players should be educated along with any punishment.

"In most industries if you're caught doing something like that you would be sacked for misconduct," said campaign coordinator Gavin Sutherland.

"However it's an opportunity for them to learn and grow. Sometimes punishment without education is not as effective as it could be.

"If they were to drop out of football altogether they could resent that and the attitude could be come ingrained.

"It will be interesting to see what happens, there will be some punishment.

"We always say to young people if they have been racist before it does not mean they have to continue to be racist. They are young men and it provides an opportunity to learn from their mistakes."

Show Racism the Red Card will not sever ties with boss Pearson or the club, though.

"It's not something the club has done or the manager, the players were acting independently," added Sutherland.

"He (Pearson) has been very passionate on the issue for us. He's definitely been a great voice for the cause. Leicester do a lot of work to challenge prejudice and promote diversity.

"They have to be praised with how quickly they have come out with a statement and investigation.

"The use of that kind of language is unacceptable in any context."

Kick It Out echoed Show Racism the Red Card's thoughts over how quickly the Foxes dealt with the players and expects them to be punished appropriately.

"Kick It Out acknowledges the swift action taken by Leicester City Football Club in sending home the three players involved in the incident reported in the national media from the club's post-season tour of Thailand to conduct a thorough investigation," a statement read.

"Kick It Out notes that the players involved have apologised to the women involved and to those affected by their abhorrent behaviour.

"Professional footballers are reminded of their responsibilities as ambassadors for clubs, supporters, the local community and the game as a whole.

"If the investigation finds that the players have committed gross misconduct, we expect the club to take the appropriate sanction, as would occur within any workplace.

"In addition, The Football Association has been made aware of the incident and is liaising with the club to determine the facts.

"Kick It Out continues to offer its support and advice to the club at this time and will await the findings of their internal investigation."

Hopper has made three appearances for the Foxes while Pearson has made one and Smith is yet to make his debut.

The three players apologised via a statement from the club.

A Leicester statement read: "Tom Hopper, James Pearson and Adam Smith would like to convey their sincere apologies for their behaviour - to the women involved in the incident, to the club and its owners, to the club's fans and to their families.

"A formal process of investigation will be undertaken with the players in conjunction with their representatives and, as such, no further comment can be made at this stage."

PA Media