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Fan Letters: “Racism in football rears its ugly head again - let’s stamp it out at Sunderland!”

Despite an epic away win last night for England, the entire focus since has been on the monkey chants that emanated from the Montenegro supporters - a timely reminder for ALL football supporters that we mustn’t tolerate racism. Email us: RokerReport@yahoo.co.uk and we’ll publish your letter in a future edition!

Montenegro v England - UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Last night racism in football reared its ugly head again. Shocking.

Why in 2019 does this still occur? It’s not restricted to Montenegro either. It happens inside almost every football ground in England I imagine, just to a lesser degree.

That doesn’t make it any less significant though. We need to find a solution to this toxic issue, otherwise in twenty years time we’ll still be sat here talking about mindless idiots ruining games of football with monkey chants.

I urge anyone who hears racism at Sunderland games to not only report it, but make a big deal out of it. I saw that a lad (who I shan't name) got off with a banning order at the SOL recently after the investigation proved inconclusive. Some of the boys that sit round him swore blind he’s been shouting racist abuse for years and nobody has said a word.

How sad.

Billy Heathcombe, South Stander

Ed’s Note: This is unfortunately a massive issue all throughout the game. I myself have heard a plethora of differing racist comments and insults directed towards players, fans and club staff of both Sunderland and the opposition. Yet, it’s not just isolated at Sunderland.

The whole game in the world over is blighted by bigotry and racism, but luckily up here at Sunderland it seems to be a disgusting but incredibly vocal minority. Sometimes the blunt honesty and passion (which is in itself double-edged) is a massive issue, but racism needs given no excuse.

We as football fans and as humans must take a stand against this whenever we hear it in person, and then again after the game on social media. It must be stamped out in both forms, as most anti-racism slogans are now part and parcel of the game and are sadly nowhere near as effective as good people standing up to those being racist.

I’ve always felt my own silence in the past made me partly complicit in the bigotry, and thus I always endear to speak against it, despite often getting irate comments made my way and asked to be “seen outside” by said fans on numerous occasions. It’s not nice, and to be honest at times intimidating, but these people need to be challenged on their views and singled out for what they are.

Assess the situation. Then you can either challenge them for their situation or tell a steward. Either must be done, and then also share the experience on social media, allow as many people to know about this abhorrent behaviour so we can all take a stand next time it happens.

To quote our own writer Craig Davies in an excellent report on racism just earlier in the season:

Sadly, the slow, volcanic return of visible and vitriolic racism and use of racist language in football is creeping its demonic head above the parapet of civility.

By the beginning of 2018, the reports of racist language and racist abuse at matches in England had increased 70% since 2012.

The best way of combating it is to speak out in order to kick it out. Either by direct confrontation or by telling the relevant authorities. Changing mentality is the most difficult, but long-term we can do it together. Oppose bigots in order to oppose bigotry.