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Antonio Rudiger’s powerful words on his experiences with racism in football

Antonio Rudiger opens up on his personal fight against…

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antonio rudigers powerful words on his experiences with racism in football
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Antonio Rudiger has spoken out passionately about football’s fight against racism, calling for meaningful action against the sort of deep-rooted discrimination that extends beyond just ‘a few idiots in the stand.’

Racist abuse remains disturbingly commonplace in football, with Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford the latest to shine a light on his experiences in the wake of the Europa League final.

There have been various campaigns designed to fight the problem, such as the ‘take a knee’ initiative, and last month’s social media blackout. But in the absence of serious action from those with the power to make a difference, it has done little to make it easier on those who suffer abuse on a daily basis.

Calling on his own experiences, Rudiger wrote for The Players’ Tribune about receiving racist abuse from Lazio fans in 2017, and how he feels it wasn’t taken seriously enough.

He said: “Whenever something like this happens, how does the football world react? People say, ‘Ahhh, it’s so terrible.’

“The clubs and the players post a little message on Instagram: ‘End racism!!!’

“Everyone acts like it was ‘just a few idiots.’

“There is an investigation, but nothing really happens. Every once in a while, we have a big social media campaign, and everybody feels good about themselves, and then we go back to normal. 

“Nothing ever really changes. 

“Tell me, why did the press and the fans and the players all come together to stop the Super League in 48 hours, but when there is obvious racist abuse at a football stadium or online, it is always ‘complicated’?

“Maybe because it is not just a few idiots in the stands. Maybe because it goes a lot deeper. “

He went on to talk about Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, one of the few people he felt really tried to understand the issue in the wake of the Derby della Capitale.

“You know, I think very often about Daniele De Rossi. He came to me after the Lazio match and he said something that I don’t think I had ever heard before. I was still very emotional, very angry. De Rossi sat down next to me and said, ‘Toni, I know I will never feel the same as you. But let me understand your pain. What is going on inside your head.’

“He did not tweet. He did not post a black square. He cared

Antonio Ruediger
Rudiger wrote powerfully about his experiences with racism in football | Clive Mason/Getty Images

“A lot of people in football say things publicly, but they never really come to you personally. De Rossi really wanted to know how I felt. This guy was a club icon. A legend. When I came into the dressing room for the first time, just seeing him made me feel like I was a nervous little kid. 

“But in my toughest moment, De Rossi cared about me as a human being. He wanted to understand. 

“Am I making some people uncomfortable talking like this? Maybe, but I know that the whole world is going to be watching the Champions League final this weekend, and I want to use my voice to talk about something real.”

Read the full piece on The Players’ Tribune.

Source: 90 Mins

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