Russell Brand has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling, claiming cultural changes must be made in order to eradicate the problem of racism in football.
The Manchester City star was allegedly racially abused by a group of Chelsea fans during Saturday night’s clash at Stamford Bridge.
Blues fan Colin Wing admitted to hurling abuse at Sterling, but not using racist language.
However, the 24-year-old City and England star launched an urgent appeal to the football world for a cultural change to occur to eradicate the problem of racism.
And, to prove his point, he posted screen shots on Instagram detailing the different use in rhetoric when describing a young black player and a young white player.
Brand, a passionate West Ham fan, spoke to Bob Mills, Micky Gray and Jim White on talkSPORT and echoed Sterling’s sentiments.
He said: “On one hand, I’m tempted to say that we as four white men can’t – on any level – understand what it’s like to be the recipient of racial abuse.
“On the other hand, I think it’s very important that we stand in solidarity with the victims of any kind of abuse.
“Raheem Sterling don’t [sic] need us to stick up for him, clearly he is able to stand up for himself quite articulately and brilliantly.
“The point that he made is that the abuse that he receives is underwritten by bad treatment in the media. Citing the two examples of the way the two stories were told in regard to a white player and black player.
“I think Raheem makes an important point: Football ain’t racist, culture is racist and football is part of culture.
“We, as football fans, have an obligation to demonstrate that racism is unacceptable.”
In 2015, shocking footage emerged of a group of Chelsea fans refusing to let a black passenger onto a train in Paris ahead of their Champions League clash with PSG.
The football world was outraged but, as Brand pointed out, the problem of racism in football continues to rear it’s ugly head.
In order to finally rid the beautiful game of such a foul stain, the actor called for changes to be made throughout the industry.
“I suppose what we have to do is address directly the conditions that lead to it [racism],” he added.
“What Raheem Sterling was saying is that the way he is written about and spoken about is somehow facilitating that kind of abuse – making it seem more reasonable.
“I think he is right, I think he’s nailed it. Furthermore, Stan Collymore said once in a while these conversations flare up.
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“It happened after the incident with the train when the Chelsea fans would not let the black geezer get on.
“But what Stan was saying is that these conversations flare up and then they disappear again.
“I suppose culture needs to change deeply and that needs to come from the bottom and the top. Fans ourselves need to demonstrate that racist language is unacceptable.
“And, on an institutional level, changes need to be made.”