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'It was a kid, that's why it shocked me' - Cyrus Christie opens up on racial abuse after Ireland training session

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Ireland international Cyrus Christie. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland international Cyrus Christie. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Ireland international Cyrus Christie. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland defender Cyrus Christie has spoken of his shock at being racially abused by a young Irish fan after a training session in Dublin. 

The 27-year-old Fulham full-back was talking on the Off The Ball AM show this morning on how he has dealt with racism from Ireland fans and how one particular incident in Dublin left him in shock.

"Yeah this was in Dublin. This was one of my first couple of times when I was new in (the squad). We had people outside, obviously after training sometimes there's people there," he said

"Someone came up to me and it was racist whatever they said... it was a big shock. Then obviously a few of the lads refused to sign stuff because there were a few others that were there and seen it.

"I was in shock, because I didn't expect it at that time. It's one of them situations... it's not the first time, I'm sure it's not going to be the last.

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Republic of Ireland's Cyrus Christie. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland's Cyrus Christie. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland's Cyrus Christie. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

"When people catch you by surprise is when it's worst. Like I said, I've had it so many times, you become accustomed to it and used to it. But you have to speak up - if you don't speak up people won't understand and they won't realise actually what is going on in this world. We can't stay silent - that's everyone.

"It was a kid, that's why it shocked me. It's come from a kid. You don't want to blame the kid because it's come from the parents in my mind," he said.

"What shocked me the most is that obviously he's there with the teacher. The teacher didn't say nothing. She allowed it. Unless you educate these people it's going to keep happening.

"That's what I find scary. You have older generations and they're so stubborn... they're not going to change their mind because if you've been on this Earth for 50, 60 years it's hard to change someone's opinion.

"You've got kids that understand what is going on in this world... they're growing up in a different time now.

"For a teacher, who is in a high position, who is meant to be a carer, for her not to say anything was what shocked me even more.

"I don't know what's been said around him [the kid] or his education, but it's a kid who I'm sure has enough longevity in his life to know where he went wrong there.

"Hopefully 20 years from now he doesn't have the same opinion."

Christie, who has won 24 Ireland senior caps, scoring two goals, also spoken out about being racially abused on several occasions by Irish fans during his international career.

He has credited his Ireland colleague James McClean for highlighting the issue.

"It wasn't just the Denmark game (November 2017), it was the previous two months in September and October when we had the other international games, it kept happening after every game I was getting racist abuse. I picked up on it, but it wasn't telling people about it," he revealed.

"I was getting 'Cyrus you're not Irish' but I didn't see Richard Keogh, Ciaran Clark or Harry Arter, the other lads that were born in England, getting that stuff. But me David McGoldrick, Callum Robinson, the three black lads, it's coming at us. We're getting spoke about that way.

"It was numerous occasions."

Christie reveals the abuse from some Ireland fans worsened after he scored an own goal in the 5-1 World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark in November 2017 at the Aviva Stadium.

"It happened in the games previous to that. It happened when I first joined up," he added.

You can listen to the full OTB AM interview with Cyrus Christie here

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