Recently the 'Kick It Out' anti-racism campaign in football has been little more than an expensive way of covering up the FA's decidely lax attitude to intolerance, with punishment for players who have suffered racist abuse typically resulting in little more than a small fine and suspension.
John Terry was fined a week's pay and received a four-match ban from the FA for the remarks he made towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, while an under-21 match between England and Serbia earlier this week resulted in the referee sending Danny Rose off after the game had finished, when the young Spurs player responded to "monkey chants" from the Serbian crowd by angrily kicking the ball.
The lack of conviction in the FA's handling of racist behaviour in the sport has understandably left many fans and players feeling disenchanted with the ongoing campaign, including Reading striker Jason Roberts, who has said he refuses to wear a 'Kick It Out' shirt prior to his club's upcoming game at Liverpool.
“I find it hard to wear a T-shirt after what has happened in the last year. I won’t wear one", said Roberts.
“I’m totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there’s a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it.
“I think people feel let down by what used to be called ’Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football’. People don’t feel like they have been strong enough.”
However, Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has said that he disagrees with Roberts' decision, saying: “I think he is making the wrong point. Everyone should be united, with all the players in the country wearing the Kick It Out warm-up tops.
“I don’t know what point he is trying to make. I don’t know if he is trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone. But he really should be supporting all the rest of the players who are doing it.
"If everyone believes in it you should do it together. We shouldn't have sheep wandering off. All the players will be wearing T-shirts – I've only heard that Jason Roberts is different.
"He's very different. He plays his game in the studio 20 minutes after it. It's a great privilege."
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