Racism in sport: Jason Roberts has again refused to wear a T-shirt in support of anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out this weekend, but gave his tentative support to the Professional Footballers Association’s six-point plan designed to eradicate the problem within the game.
The Reading striker was one of a number of black players, which also included Anton and Rio Ferdinand, who boycotted the awareness campaign last weekend by opting not to wear the T-shirts in the warm-up before their respective Premier League matches.
Roberts is a Kick It Out ambassador but is angry at what he sees as the football authorities’ perceived failure to crack down on those found guilty of racism.
For that reason he will not wear the shirt again on Saturday before Reading host Fulham.
“No, I won’t — that’s my own choice,” the 34-year-old said.
“If it was a T-shirt from another organisation I wouldn’t have worn that either. This is not an attack on Kick It Out. I am passionate about the PFA and Kick It Out but they have to do better, we have to do better.”
He added: “When we have implemented changes, when we are acting and things are being done, I will be the first person wearing a shirt and driving up and down the country again in my car speaking to kids again about this.”
The PFA’s six-point plan includes the possible implementation of the Rooney Rule — an initiative established in the United States which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching positions.
Roberts thinks the rule is a good idea given the troubles football has had with racism recently.
He said: “I think last year shone a light on the racism issue. There are issues and solutions, like the Rooney Rule, and I think it’s a step in the right direction.”