Watford captain Troy Deeney has praised Raheem Sterling for the way he has handled racist abuse and says he has become a role model for young people.
Sterling has been the subject of racist abuse at times throughout his career and was allegedly targeted again during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria at Wembley on Saturday. The Metropolitan Police confirmed a man was arrested on suspicion of an aggravated public order offence but following enquiries, he was released with no further action.
When asked if racism has grown in recent years, Deeney told Sky Sports: “The question would be, did it ever go away? That would be the biggest question. “I think we live in a time where we can highlight it so much easier. We can highlight it with social media and Raheem has become the face and talking point for everything.
“The best thing he’s done is openly come out and spoken about it and that for many young kids coming up now should be the mantra of what to do. If you see an issue, speak about it.” Back in April, Deeney said he and his family were subjected to racist abuse on social media following Watford’s FA Cup semi-final victory against Wolves.
The Watford striker responded by disabling comments on his Instagram account after he received what he claims were abusive messages from “small-minded people”, and he hopes social media companies are finally starting to take notice. “Naturally you have to start with social media because it’s so powerful now,” Deeney said.
“Hopefully Twitter, Instagram and these kinds of social media platforms can get an understanding of what it’s like from a player’s perspective and a normal person on the street, because we’re nearly in 2020 and they shouldn’t be suffering that. “We have to keep working and keep doing what we can to move this world forward.”