Derby assistant coach Liam Rosenior has challenged the Government to take action over racism and other online abuse following the recent targeting of Rams forward Colin Kazim-Richards.
Kazim-Richards, who has previously been vocal in his support of the fight against racial injustice, scored an 84th-minute equaliser for the Rams against their East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest on Friday.
He was then targeted on social media for abuse, with Derby revealing in a condemning statement that Kazim-Richards was forced to explain to his young children why he was being abused.
Rosenior says the Government must set the tone for all other institutions from the very top to affect genuine change in football and society.
“I would take it further than football – I think our Government needs to do more. They’re the people running this country. They’re the people who set the tone for every institution below the Government,” Rosenior said.
“I remember after the Millwall game – when we were booed for taking a knee – I remember a senior government official made comments that just were not true around the whole issue surrounding taking a knee and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Until we challenge things at the very, very top, beyond football, we won’t change things the way it should be changed. So I challenge the Government, more than football and governing bodies, to make a real difference and stand up for the right things.”
In a powerful statement condemning the abuse received by Kazim-Richards, Derby also detailed how the Turkey international was forced to have a conversation about abuse with his children, saying: “The abuse received by Colin resulted in him having to have a conversation with his young children to explain why, in this day and age, racism and discrimination still exists.”
Rosenior says he finds the effects such abuse can have on the children of those targeted particularly upsetting.
“I spoke with Colin as soon as I found out what happened and the saddest thing in my conversation with him is that it affected his children. That’s something that is not right and that’s something we need to change,” continued Rosenior.
“It’s okay for everyone to say how wrong it is – we all know how wrong racism is and sexism, ageism, homophobia, all of these things are wrong in our society – but what we need to do is start coming up with solutions, so it doesn’t happen again.
“Colin is one of those people whose life experiences are incredible. He has travelled around the world… He has been there, seen that, done it. But what upsets you when you become a father is when it starts affecting your children. We’re all here to make the next generation better.
“Colin is absolutely fine – he is just an outstanding individual. I’m delighted he’s signed a new contract here. He is a real leader but what upsets him and what upsets me is when it affects your children, and that is something that we can really change.
“My job, not just as a coach or someone who works here, but as a father, is to move the next generation forward. I have had to have conversations with my daughters that people may perceive them differently just because of the way they look or the way that their hair looks. I just want it to change.”
‘Why I’ll continue to take a knee’
Since Project Restart last summer, players, officials and staff at Premier League and EFL games have been taking a knee before kick-off to show support for the movement for racial equality.
But many voices in the game believe it is now losing its original meaning, such as QPR sporting director Les Ferdinand, who said in September its impact has now been “diluted”.
Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha recently reiterated his belief that taking a knee is “degrading” and several teams have also decided to stop making the gesture before matches.
Rosenior accepts the arguments being made against taking a knee and respects people’s decisions not to do so, but says he personally remains proud to continue making a “symbolic gesture”.
“You can highlight the issue and obviously the issue still needs to be highlighted. I understand why some football clubs don’t want to take a knee any more – because they feel things haven’t moved forward – but my only way of trying to move things forward is to stick to what you believe in.
“I am proud to take a knee because it stands for something really important, which is not just about racial equality for every single person on this planet.
“So for me, until things do improve and we come up with solutions, I think the only way we can highlight these things is by making symbolic gestures. I’m happy to take a knee to make sure things are highlighted and make sure things improve for the future.”
Hate Won’t Stop Us
Sky Sports is committed to making skysports.com and our channels on social media platforms a place for comment and debate that is free of abuse, hate and profanity.
For more information, please visit: www.skysports.com/hatewontstopus
If you see a reply to Sky Sports posts and/or content with an expression of hate on the basis of race, colour, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, sexuality, age or class please copy the URL to the hateful post or screengrab it and email us here.
Kick It Out reporting racism
Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation – working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.