‘I’d meet my abuser’ – Raheem Sterling says he would face Chelsea fan who was banned for life for racially abusing him
RAHEEM STERLING says he would meet the Chelsea fan banned for racially abusing him.
The England star, 27, is set to make his home Blues debut on Sunday against Tottenham following his £47.5million move from Manchester City.
Chelsea banned supporter Colin Wing for life after concluding he had used “racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour” towards Sterling at Stamford Bridge in 2018.
Former Three Lions international Stan Collymore has suggested it would be a “huge anti-racism statement” if Sterling sat down with Wing on film to discuss how the events of that day affected him and his family.
Asked if he would be open to doing that, the ex-City and Liverpool forward replied: “I have no hatred or malice towards the individual.
“That’s something that I could do right here, right now, or tomorrow.
“That’s not an issue. I think my main focus is to move away from the racial kind of thing and focus more on nurturing and feeding the youth, like myself growing up.
“Giving them a map to what lies ahead.”
Wing insisted at the time that he called Sterling a “Manc c***”, not a “black c***” and the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case against him because of inconclusive evidence.
However, Chelsea issued Wing with a lifetime ban after conducting their own investigation that included hiring two expert lip-readers.
CASINO SPECIAL – BEST NEW CUSTOMER SIGN UP DEALS
Five other fans were also given suspensions of between one and two years for their behaviour during the match with City on December 8, 2018, and agreed to attend educational courses.
Asked if the incident came into his thinking when choosing to join Chelsea, Sterling said: “No, that’s the first time I’ve actually even remembered it.
“It wasn’t a thing that played on my mind at all.
“I can’t let an incident from individuals change my perception of the club.”
Sterling spoke out after the incident, claiming his reaction at the time was to laugh because he expected “no better” and claimed sections of the media “fuelled racism” with their portrayals of young black players.
His statement was seen as a turning point in the battle against bigotry, giving other players the power to speak out and the press pause for thought over coverage.
Reflecting on his response to the incident and his subsequent role as one of the game’s most prominent voices standing up to racism, Sterling said: “I think that conversation opened the door for me personally in the sense where it made me understand what my true purpose is other than football.
“Of course football is my main goal and talent but the other thing that gives me the most joy is helping people.
“So from that incident, I’ve moved away from the racial side of it and am focusing more on helping and nurturing young black people.”