Former Republic of Ireland striker, Clinton Morrison fears the progress made by English football in tackling racism is starting to slip after two incidents of racial abuse in a week.
Last week a Tottenham supporter was arrested after throwing a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Following on from this, Raheem Sterling was subjected to alleged racial abuse on Saturday as Man City were defeated by Chelsea.
Sterling laughed off the abuse but took to Instagram on Sunday to highlight the role played by the media in ‘fuelling racism’ by their portrayal of young black players.
“It’s a disgrace,” Morrison told RTÉ 2fm’s Game On.
“It’s happening too often in English football at the moment. Aubameyang… the guy said he didn’t realise when he threw the banana what the implications were going to be. If you throw a banana at a black person, you know what’s going to happen.
“That is 60s and 70s (stuff), it’s like we’re going back to the dinosaur years. Chelsea has always been kind of a racist ground to go and play at times. We used to get it every week at Millwall. We didn’t even want to go down the touchline and chase the ball the fans were so bad.
“I thought it was starting to change and evolve but the scenes were disgusting. We thought it had gone and it is getting bad so something needs to be done. Ban these fans when they do it for life.”
Morrison heaped praised on Sterling for how he handled the situation, before agreeing that he comes in for harsh treatment from the UK media compared to other athletes.
“Fair play to Raheem Sterling, he dealt with it really well,” said Morrison.
“The press in England give him some terrible stick for no reason.
“He could be in a pound shop or flying Ryanair but because they think he should flying first-class everywhere he goes… He’s just trying to be a normal person.”
The former Crystal Palace striker made 36 appearances for the Republic of Ireland and admitted that the Irish fans were ‘brilliant’ and the only time he faced racism in the green shirt was against Russia.
“I chose to play for Ireland. Being a black man that was born in England I knew they could either love me or I could get a bit of stick. But nine times out of 10, the majority of people in Ireland were brilliant to me.
“The only time I got racially abused was playing for Ireland in Russia. I knew straight away when I got out there I was going to get stick. But the best thing I did was put the ball in the back of the net. It probably made them (the Russian fans) do it even more.
“I would deal with it how Raheem Sterling would deal with it, just ignore them and carry on doing my business on the pitch because those small-minded people are not going to get the better of me.”