Former Liverpool FC midfielder John Barnes believes the players who protested by not wearing Kick It Out t-shirts need to aim their frustrations at the people who can do something about racism.
High profile Premier League players such as Rio Ferdinand, his brother Anton, Jason Roberts and Joleon Lescott refused to wear Kick It Out t-shirts during their warm-ups over the weekend.
But Barnes feels that the current situation isn’t the fault of Kick It Out and that these players need to highlight what needs to be done to prevent further situations.
Barnes told Talk Sport’s Keys & Gray show today: “I understand that they are not happy with the way things are, but I think they really have to target the source of their discontentment and I’m sure Kick It Out isn’t that target.
“There is nothing Kick It Out can do to implement strategy or fines or legislation. If they are unhappy with the treatment John Terry has got, or Serbia, then they should target the right people.
“Kick It Out are suffering because a lot people believe that Rio [Ferdinand] and Jason [Roberts] aren’t happy with Kick It Out, and I don’t think they’re not necessarily unhappy with them, I think they’re unhappy with the situation. But unfortunately they are targeting the wrong people.”
Barnes also believes players like Ferdinand need to come out and explain who they are unhappy with and that Kick It Out have a lack of power within the game to make a real difference.
“If they are big and brave enough to make these decisions and to go against Alex Ferguson, as Rio did, then they need to be brave enough to say who they are unhappy with because I can’t see why they would be unhappy with Kick It Out. Kick It Out have no power to either ban or give bigger fines,” he added.
“So I don’t know why they took the stance they did.”
Barnes also suggested that racism in football will always exist as long as it exists in society and that it is the bigger picture that needs to be looked at.
“We have to highlight the problems we have in society because it is very easy to call social injustice when it affects us like with Danny Rose, Anton and Luis Suarez, but what about the social injustices that go in with normal black people generally every day anyway?” he said.
“There is no way we can get rid of racism in football if it exists in society. So I understand the reasons behind the boys making a stand and fine, let’s highlight it, but use your influence and power to highlight the right reasons and target the right people.”
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