'Back the cause'

'Players should wear the T-shirt and then air their grievances'

Last Updated: 19/10/12 11:23am

Karl Robinson told The Footballers' Football Show that players SHOULD wear the 'Kick It Out' campaign T-shirt at this weekend's matches.

"If you are going to be dismissive of it, you have to have a very valid reason why."

Karl Robinson

Quotes of the week

Reading striker Jason Roberts revealed on Thursday that he would not put on the shirt at his side's game with Liverpool on Saturday as he feels the anti-racism group have not been "strong enough" in dealing with the Luis Suarez and John Terry scandals.

Rio and Anton Ferdinand will join Roberts in his boycott and while MK Dons manager Robinson says he would back his black players if they opted to do the same thing, he feels that a rejection of the shirt could cause problems.

"Players have got the freedom of speech to do what they want and we have got to do more (to combat racism)," said Robinson. "But I'm sure by them rejecting the shirt it is only going to bring more criticism towards it.

"There are small problems and we have seen that, probably more than ever, in the UK over the past 12 months, but it is only a small part of the population. It has got better by these campaigns and how much it has been highlighted by the general public, so let's support these initiatives.

"As a manager, I would have to support my players (if they refused to wear the T-shirt) but I would also ask the questions why and what we can do to make it better.

"Don't just not wear it, wear it and then let's go to these people and say: 'I don't agree with this. I don't agree with that, we should be doing more in this department'.

"If you are going to be dismissive of it, you have to have a very valid reason why."


Leyton Orient chief executive Matt Porter believes Kick It Out are doing a sterling job combatting racism considering the lack of resources at their disposal, and he insists that most clubs are working extremely hard in the fight for equality, too.

"I had a meeting with Kick It Out recently and they have seven staff and very little resources," said Porter. "People assume that because it is relatively high profile in the footballing world that it has a huge office and millions of pounds pouring in - but it doesn't.

"If some people feel they aren't going far enough you can sympathise with that, but within the financial limitations they are dealing with it as well as they can do.

"In recent years we have had this targeted week of action in October and clubs support it by wearing the T-shirt in the warm-up and the youth team parades the banner around the pitch.

"They may seem like token gestures on the face of it, but actually over the course of the year, the work that clubs put in through themselves and their community programme in reaching people from all sorts of society and diverse backgrounds shows the real underlying commitment.

"The T-shirt shows support but isn't where the campaign starts and finishes."

The Footballers' Football Show panel also reflected on the racist chanting that marred the England Under 21's game with Serbia on Tuesday. Hit the video at the top of the screen to hear their views.