Roberts: Racism tackling can be better

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts believes football has made great strides in tackling racism over the last 20 years but accepts there is work still to do.

Football News: Jason Roberts

And the Rovers forward has insisted there is no defence for making a racist remark, irrespective of whether or not it is meant as a joke, and admits he is even uncomfortable with people using racist language to describe themselves.

Roberts, a London-born Grenada international, grew up in an Afro-Caribbean neighbourhood and said he did not experience racism until he began playing football.

But although the situation has improved significantly he believes there is no room for complacency.

"The first time I encountered it (racism) was playing football, where I was one of only a couple of black guys in a team," Roberts told the Show Racism the Red Card in an interview for their new educational DVD.

"I think the way football has integrated itself over the past 20 years can be a great example to everyone.

"When you look at the different nationalities and ethnicities involved in football, I think it brings diversity to another level really.

"Different cultures have different things that they bring to the table and it is such a multicultural game now, with different people involved from different places in the world - it definitely makes the game richer and it brings a different flavour to our leagues.

"We still have issues, we still have things we need to tackle but, as a marker, I think football has done a great job in trying to welcome different cultures and people.

"There are still some bridges that need to be built and things to improve on but certainly people look at football and see that it is something that brought people together."

Roberts believes there is still further education required to ensure racism has no place in society at any level.

"I don't think racism from anyone is acceptable in any way, shape or form," added the 33-year-old on www.srtrc.org.

"There are ways that humour is used to bring certain things up but I certainly don't think that race is something to be spoken about in that manner.

"It is something that is very emotive and I think it should be left alone.

"It is not okay in modern society and it is not something we should accept; it is not something that should be allowed to happen."

The Show Racism the Red Card Campaign has been running for some years but the issue came back into the headlines recently after allegations were made against Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and England and Chelsea captain John Terry.

The Football Association is investigating the claims against the players, both of whom deny any wrongdoing.



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