Raheem Sterling said “I’m black and I’m proud” as he rejected calls for players who receive racial abuse to walk off the pitch.
The Manchester City forward was speaking after a weekend of football that was marred by shameful events in England and Scotland, just days after Tottenham’s Danny Rose said he was looking forward to retiring from a game which has done too little to tackle the problem.
There have been calls for players to walk off the pitch if they are abused, but Sterling said he felt that would be the wrong move.
“I wouldn’t personally agree with it,” he said. “To win the game would hurt them even more, they’re only trying to get you down.
“If you walk off they win, to score or win would be better.”
Sterling has consistently raised the issue having received abuse himself, but said he could not understand what drove people to be racially abusive.
“It’s offensive but my mum always told me I’m a wonderful black child and I know this,” he said.
“I’m black and I’m proud, and I’m confident in my body. Some people can’t take it but my mum always told me to love myself and who I am.”