Editorial Note [Rich]
In response to the thoughtful letter we received from Sunderland fan Rachid Ali about people attending football matches booing players who take a knee against racism, which was published yesterday, we have received a number of letters from “supporters” offering a counter view. We considered publishing them and responding in detail to each of the half-truths and outright falsehoods they contained, but then we thought again.
We at Roker Report encourage a range of opinions and healthy, rational, debate on everything to do with our club and our game. But we will not give a platform to those who seek to spread far-right misinformation, wilful ignorance, or false-equivalence, amongst our readership and fanbase. This is not to “cancel” any legitimate view on responses to racism within football - it is living up to our values; we are not obliged to publish your letters, but we are obliged to ensure that Roker Report remains a place where fans of all races, religions, genders, sexualities and nationalities can click on story and not be gaslit and have their lived experiences of racism and discrimination questioned. We will also not belittle the work and words of the professional footballers calling for a safe and inclusive working environment and a more equal society. Whether or not bigoted or misinformed views about Black Lives Matter are couched in “I’m not racist but...” or “I’ve got loads of black friends”, they will not be given prominence and amplification in this fanzine.
You can read my wider thoughts on the matter, published back in December 2020, here.
’— Roker Report (@RokerReport) December 22, 2020
The fight against prejudice in football involves all Sunderland fans. In the first of a two-part series, Rich Speight tackles racism.
✍ @mackemrich | #SAFC ⚪ https://t.co/wn4hHrksNF
Dear Roker Report,
Just reading Will Grigg’s comments with astonishment.
This joker couldn’t care less about Sunderland. I’d say ‘get rid of him’ but who the hell would have him?
Let’s hope Wigan’s new owner has deep pockets.
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for your letter, Jack. I can’t imagine that Grigg will be playing at the Stadium of Light next season, but with 8 goals in 20 games for MK Dons last season who have expressed an interest in signing him permanently, surely there’s a League 1 or 2 team out there - MK or Wigan - who will take him off our hands. I can’t see us getting a fee though, and it all underlines just what a terrible piece of business Steward Donald did back in January 2019.
Dear Roker Report,
What do you make of the rumours that LON has rejected a contract?
I don’t know what to make of it.
Ed’s Note [Rich]: Cheers for writing in, Craggsy. It makes me sad to think that we may not have done enough to persuade Luke O’Nien that his future is best served by staying at Sunderland. Over the three years he’s been at the club he’s marked himself out as a grafter, someone who will do anything and play anywhere for the club, as well as an intensely likeable individual with the kind of personal qualities any club would love to have in their dressing room.
I can’t begrudge the guy wanting to play at the highest possible level and we know that he has ambitions of making it in the Premier League. As he approaches what is usually the peak years of a professional’s career, with perhaps only one or two big contracts left in him, it makes sense that he’s listening to offers from higher up the pyramid. But none of this will make it any easier on us if he does go; I’m already thinking of how I might break the news to my lad who idolises him.