Derby coach speaks exclusively to The Football Show on why education is key in racism fight and why players should speak without fear
Last Updated: 10/06/20 1: 37pm
Derby coach Liam Rosenior has lifted the lid on his letter to Donald Trump – and encouraged footballers from all backgrounds to feel empowered to speak out against racism.
Rosenior this week wrote an open letter to Trump in which he thanked the US president for being an unwitting potential catalyst for change as Black Lives Matter protests continue.
The former Sky Sports pundit and now Derby coach joined The Football Show to explain why education, diversity and “honest conversations” are vital – and how he has encouraged his Rams colleagues to help in the fight against discrimination.
Why I wrote letter to Trump
I wanted to do something a little bit different. I’ve been amazed at the reaction to it. The idea was to write to the US President and thank him for being so honest in his views. He’s not politically correct, he doesn’t shy away from what he believes in and whether we agree or not, it gives us something tangible to fight against.
I think he’s actually helping the campaign without even trying by being so forthright in his views and thereby raising support.
Individuals can make a difference
It starts with the individual. Whether you’re white, black; whatever your religion or gender, if you want to make a difference, you have the possibility to do it by having open discussions, being honest about what you believe in.
It’s not just about organisations, it’s about individuals educating themselves to find out why black people in general are feeling like they’re second-class citizens at times.
I’ve always wanted to coach or manage. Top black players have told me it’s never going to happen. It’s not their fault – the society that they’ve grown up in has given them that cause to believe it – but we need to change that idea.
There’s a deeper-lying racism – beyond the overt racism we’ve seen against Raheem Sterling or England players getting racially abused away from home – that’s the foundation of the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s the unconscious bias, covert racism, people not being able to affect society because they’re perceived in a certain way.
Diversity isn’t just about quotas
UEFA and FIFA are the governing bodies and diversity there is crucial; it’s not about having someone from a minority background for no particular reason other than to fulfil a quota. It’s to make sure we have more people from different points of view and perspectives who empathise and understand with the different people in our game.
Having diversity in authority, in boardrooms, allows us to make more considered decisions. It’s about including everyone in the conversation.
Education is vital
Punishment is one course of action but education is vital. In order for us to eradicate racism, we need to teach our next generation that it’s unacceptable.
We need to bring people together – when you do that, you realise we are actually quite similar! Kick It Out are really trying to educate children in schools; that’s the way we will eradicate this long-term.
What I’ve told Derby players
I have had some great conversations with the Derby players at the training ground. White players are asking me for my thoughts, asking me why there’s so much anger.
It’s a great question because if you are white, maybe you have a 9-5 job and are working to provide for your family, you might not have time to educate yourself on something that doesn’t feel like it concerns you.
I don’t get frustrated or angry when people say they don’t understand.
Players have been asking me, ‘What should we say? What should we do?’. I tell them to say what they think, to not be afraid. For too long racism has been a taboo subject in our society and in order to break down barriers, we need people to be able to challenge in a respectful way.