Patrice Evra has expressed his dismay after Raheem Sterling was allegedly subjected to racist abuse during Manchester City’s Premier League match at Chelsea on Saturday.
City and England forward Sterling suffered a barrage of insults from home supporters at Stamford Bridge, some of which were allegedly racist in nature.
Evra, the former Manchester United defender who was racially abused by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez in 2011, is incredulous that such incidents could still occur in the modern game.
The Frenchman tweeted: “I saw what happened with @sterling7 yesterday….How does this happen still in 2018?!.
“It doesn’t matter what colour your skin is or your religion or what country you are from we need to be kind to each other. Love is so much more powerful than hate.”
Lord Ouseley, chair of the campaign group Kick it Out, has called on figures at the top of the game to take stronger action in dealing with racism. Ouseley believes there is a lack of leadership on the issue.
“What happened at Chelsea shows what is still going on in football,” said Ouseley in a statement.
“Where is (Premier League executive chairman) Richard Scudamore? Where is (Football Association chairman) Greg Clarke? Where is Chelsea’s chairman (Bruce Buck)?
“They should have been talking out last night and it has to (be) dealt with at the top.
“We do not have any leadership at the top of the game to speak out, they rely on Kick it Out.”
Ouseley previously wrote about the media’s portrayal of Sterling in a column for The Voice newspaper, published in August.
“We have already made comments about the way Raheem Sterling has been treated differently by the media. The print media often targets, not just black players, but all footballers,” he added.
“Raheem Sterling has received bad press over the last few years because of his lifestyle and clearly there are issues from potential stories adding to prejudice and I have every sympathy for him.”
Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster, who has tried to highlight on-field racial abuse in the past, tweeted: “Another day another racist incident. Embarrassing for it be happening twice in two weeks in England. Just when you thought things had changed for the better.”
The incident came a week after a banana skin was thrown at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by a Tottenham supporter.
Sterling was abused by Chelsea fans as he retrieved the ball during the first half of Saturday’s match and footage has since been widely shared on social media.
The 24-year-old responded on Sunday morning with an Instagram post which accused newspapers of “fuelling racism”.
Sterling has received widespread support for his comments.
Labour MP Bill Esterson tweeted: “Excellent from @sterling7. It’s not surprising if the mainstream media single out and slag off young black footballers when fans scream racist abuse at black players at the match.”
England cricketer Ben Stokes simply tweeted Sterling’s name followed by supportive emojis, including a thumbs up, while former footballer Jim Beglin posted: “Scumbag Mentality 0 – 1 Raheem Sterling.”
Former England striker Gary Lineker felt Sterling’s response was justified.
“He most certainly has a point. It’s brave and right that @sterling7 speaks out,” Lineker tweeted.
Former Manchester City striker Shaun Goater tweeted: “Massive respect @sterling7.”
However, television presenter Piers Morgan disagreed that the media’s treatment of Sterling was racist, saying the attention he received was because of his high profile.
“Swap ‘Rooney’ for ‘Sterling’ in all the headlines everyone’s tweeting, and tell me they’re still ‘racist’,” Morgan posted on Twitter.
“Both have received the same intense media treatment (good & bad) because England’s best footballers sell papers. They also use the media to promote & enrich themselves.”
Morgan, who is set to debate Sterling’s comments with Times journalist Henry Winter on Good Morning Britain on Monday, was quickly criticised by former England defender Rio Ferdinand.
“@piersmorgan comparing @sterling7 to Beckham, Best & Rooney is off the mark. The reasons for the spotlight and derogatory press they received compared to Raheem are like night and day,” tweeted Ferdinand.