Friday 18 January 2019

'It was quite scary' - Black Chelsea fan pictured a few seats away from fans who allegedly racially abused Raheem Sterling speaks

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Chelsea fan Nathan Lewis says it was "quite scary" to have been so close to the supporters who allegedly racially abused Raheem Sterling.

Lewis, who is black, was pictured on television standing a few seats away from men who were shown shouting abuse at Manchester City forward Sterling during Saturday's match at Stamford Bridge.

"Raheem Sterling was getting a lot of abuse from all sections. However, I have to be honest and say I didn't hear actually any racial abuse whatsoever," Lewis told Good Morning Britain.

"A lot of people have been questioning me and my integrity as to why I didn't get involved, why I didn't react. But I didn't actually hear anything racial from any section of the crowd, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

"We all knew it was on TV because the camera was in front of us.

"I think it's disgusting. I'm right there, three feet away from him. He's got no regard from me, Sterling either. To see that happen on TV just a few feet away from me is quite scary."

Football journalist Henry Winter supported Sterling and says the British media's portrayal of young, black players is wrong.

Sterling accused newspapers of helping to "fuel racism" in the wake of Saturday's incident in west London.

"I think Raheem Sterling has made a huge point," Winter told Good Morning Britain. "You have to look at it from a young, black player's perspective. The portrayal of them is wrong."

Winter, who writes for the Times, also believes press boxes at football matches should be more diverse.

He said: "Coming back to your point about whether media organisations are going to have to look at themselves, absolutely.

"If I look around the press box, it's not as representative of the diverse country we live in as it should be. I'm sure if you look around television it's not as diverse."

Former England international John Barnes, who suffered racial abuse during his playing career, believes racism remains a major problem in British society as a whole.

"Society has to change. The only way we can change racism is if we change the perception of the average black person in the street and then you will have many more average black people being given what they deserve," he told BBC Breakfast.

"It's a very long-term process, we're talking about hundreds of years of indoctrination ensuring that there are certain groups of people who are more worthy than others."

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