Thursday 20 June 2019

Raheem Sterling: Pep Guardiola hails 'incredible human being' but says racism is 'everywhere'

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

Mark Critchley

Pep Guardiola has claimed that racism is “everywhere”, not just in football, and that the media has a responsibility to portray young black players without prejudice.

The Manchester City manager described his player Raheem Sterling as an ‘incredible human being’ after the winger suffered alleged racial abuse while playing against Chelsea on Saturday.

Chelsea have suspended four supporters and assisting a police investigation into the incident, which occurred during the first half of City’s 2-0 defeat.

Sterling said in response to the incident that he expected “no better” and that newspapers help to ‘fuel racism’ against young black players.

Guardiola echoed those sentiments on Tuesday, claiming racism pervades modern society and must be stamped out.

“It’s everywhere, racism is everywhere, not just in football. you think in football wed’ be safe. How we treat immigrants and refugees, how we treat them – it’s everywhere. They have to fight every day.

“I appreciate what Chelsea did. If it happened in my club we would do the same. We have to fight for human rights to make a better society, not just in England, all across Europe.

“The message for the politicians is for them to be tough on human rights and we have to defend democracy in the best way.”

“Raheem is an incredible person, an incredible human being. It’s tough to understand today what happened to black people in all history. You have to protect them, how equal we are.

“It’s tough in the 21st century to still be in this position. We have to be better. Sport is amazing because my kids go to school, with English, black people, from everywhere. We have to defend and protect.”

When asked why he believed Sterling has been unfairly targeted, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. I spoke with him when I arrived, he was active on social media and Instagram and I told him to protect his private life, and he did it.

“He’s less active, he’s more mature, I don’t know the reason why. Hopefully the criticism is when he plays s***, he plays bad. Everyone is exposed to that, everyone around the world – but just for the colour of his skin? Believe me, that’s ridiculous and we have to protect from that situation.”

Guardiola reiterated Sterling’s point that those in the media have a responsibility to write and report without prejudice.

“Of course [there is a responsibility]. The media, of course. Everyone and everywhere. The media can write something and offend, create a conflict. The real power is the media, not politicians, that’s why you have the responsibility.”

Independent News Service

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