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Murray defends media over Sterling racism claims

The boss of the Society of Editors has defended the industry against claims by footballer Raheem Sterling that it is “fuelling racism” – while conceding that the Manchester City forward “had a point” about the way black players are portrayed.

Sterling, who was the victim of alleged racial abuse during his team’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday, took to social media afterwards to berate the media for “emboldening racist rhetoric” by negative coverage.

He cited a national newspaper story about a young black footballer who bought a £2.25m house despite never having started a Premier League game, saying: “This young black kid is looked at in a bad light, which helps fuel racism and aggressive behaviour.”

But Society of Editors director Ian Murray said he doubted that there were any journalists working in the mainstream media in the UK who set out to incite racial hatred.

Pointing the finger: Manchester City star Raheem Sterling

Pointing the finger: Manchester City star Raheem Sterling

Ian told Radio 5 live: “I don’t believe that there’s a single journalist on a national newspaper, or working anywhere in the mainstream media in this country, who actually sets out to be racist or to incite racial hatred in that kind of a way.

“I think Raheem Sterling had a point when he showed the comparisons about the way he and some other black players are portrayed.

“Taken as individual articles, they would probably say there’s nothing wrong with that, but then let’s have a look in comparison and the point that he’s making, and say, ‘Is it fair? Is it a level playing field?’

“I think there will be some soul-searching going on in newsrooms today, and discussions saying, ‘Well, are we being fair?'”

The Professional Footballers Association has backed the 24-year-old international, who has often been criticised for his lack of goals in an England shirt.

“It is evident that he is often singled out and treated more harshly than his colleagues,” said a union statement.

“As such, these stories are fuelling racism within the game, as reports of racist abuse continue to rise.

“We have been aware for a few months of the targeting Raheem faces in the press.”

5 comments

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  • December 11, 2018 at 10:26 am
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    I saw that incident live and immediately remarked to my wife on the look of hatred and contempt from one of the supporters. There are more racists in society than we like to admit and by the law of averages some of them work for newspapers.

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  • December 11, 2018 at 10:44 am
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    No racism in the national media, says Mr Murray. Really? No doubt he reads HTFP, so perhaps he will come on here and tell us what he thinks of Rod Liddle’s recent article in the Sun when he questioned whether a black MP would be in Parliament if it wasn’t for her skin colour. And don’t get me started on the Mail and Express. They make me ashamed of my profession far too often.

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  • December 11, 2018 at 2:26 pm
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    1. ‘a national newspaper story’ – why is no one openly saying that it was a Daily Mail story, which for them is just par for the course and their readership?

    2. ‘Player suffers racist abuse’ – the inference is that it’s acceptable to abuse a player anyway. There’s no reason why ‘fans’ should shout abuse/swear/make hand gestures at a player just because he has gone near them for a throw in.

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  • December 11, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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    From what I have witnessed the main reason ‘supporters’ go to football matches is to shout/sing abuse to all and sundry.
    And I ask you all one question – would you take your grandsons to an English Premiership football match?
    I know I wouldn’t, but would not hesitate to take them to a Premiership rugby game.

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  • December 12, 2018 at 10:20 am
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    Ian Murray is hopelessly out of touch. Has he never heard of unconscious racism? It’s all pervasive.

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