I've lost count how many times I've had to figure out how to embark on yet another blog post about yet another topic about racism in sports. Yes, I can hear your collective sighs wash over me like hollow ghosts. I can also feel the earth's axis shift slightly from your synchronous eye-rolling, but here we are yet again, having to break down yet another racist paradigm in sports with the work of my fingers tapping away at the keyboard with fiery vim. I guess the heart wants, what the heart wants. Though, what Raheem Sterling doesn't want is to be broken down by the English media before he steps on the plane to represent the country that enjoys bringing him down. If he isn't fed up with this narrative then I certainly am. I mean, what are we doing people?
Sterling, who was a pinnacle figurehead in Manchester City's record-breaking season, posted his best statistical season in his football career thus far - 18 Premier League goals coupled with 11 assists (Who Scored) - and all signs point towards helping his national team, England in Russia for the World Cup. England who so painfully want to right the wrongs of their disappointing Euro Championships campaign will feel buoyed by having a red-hot Sterling add to the firepower of the English attack, spearheaded by Spur's Harry Kane. While this optimistic feeling is shared amongst each other in pubs, in parks or at work offices, The Sun newspaper was deep underground plotting to launch 'Operation: Bring Down Raheem Sterling'.
Just what Sterling needs, to deal with a racist system trying to bring him down before he flies out to compete in the World Cup, in a country notorious for dressing their stadiums with racial slurs and chants. From one belly of the beast to another.
Recently, “The Sun newspaper have ceremoniously chosen to stir the cauldron of controversy, once again overlooking their brewing concoction with witching cackles. They headlined one of their daily papers with Sterling at the centrefold. Sterling's crime you ask? To have a tattoo of a gun. A tattoo that the publication has used to make him out as an advocate for gang violence or any type of ‘thug’-like shenanigans. They spew lazy agendas that stem from a historical design of racist discourse, which can be tossed into the growing pile that aims to defame black athletes.” The fumes that emanate off from the cauldron were so poignant that it moved the needle of traffic on social media, with parts of the public coming to the defence of the City winger. The controversy was enough to draw a response from Sterling himself, who defended his 'unfinished' tattoo as having a 'deeper meaning' to it:
"When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death. I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my lifetime, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning and still unfinished".
Sourced from Sterling's Instagram account
Disclaimer: I'm no real artist, but I managed to put together a nice collage for you to see. So without further ado, below is a piece that I have entitled, 'The Collage of The Sun's Racism towards Raheem Sterling':
It was with a heavy heart that I admit that there were some other headlines that missed the cut. There were other media outlets that chimed in with their own version of defamation, but I chose to curate this collage entirely out of The Sun. How much do you think this piece would be worth? I wonder.
You would think that Sterling was one of the top-ten most wanted criminals, who spread waves of destruction everywhere he went. So much negativity is enough to cloud the good that he does for the community, but it is imperative not to be misled. Here to help disperse the cloud of negativity and to offer you a purified glass of clarity, wouldn't it great to show you the side of Sterling that the media don't show?
Like the time when he [Sterling] made a "substantial" donation to the Grenfell Tower fund or the time when he teamed up with a Police charity as an ambassador to stop youths turning to crime, or the time when he funded for schools to be built in Kingston, Jamaica, or maybe when The Sun disagreed with Sterling's new lavish house, turned out to be a gift for his Mum, or the time when he continues to be involved with charity work within the city of Manchester, or the time when Sterling offered his support to the Barclays Premier League's initiative to encourage children to read more.
Now, I'm sure there's more, but you get the picture. It's time for us to rage war on newspapers like The Sun and challenge their lazy couch potato views. More support needs to come from us, the public, as well as his peers around the league. Racism continues to dirty up the sport with its unabashed dance without any progressive law to rightfully govern it.
We all now head to Russia for the World Cup, a place where racism fills the ambience, along with the scent of beer and smoke flares.