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Danny Rose condemns football’s failures to address racism in unflinching interview

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Rose gave another honest interview about an important topic, and once again he’s right.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Danny Rose has had enough. A week after he and his England teammates, including Raheem Sterling, were subjected to racist abuse during a EURO 2020 qualifier at Montenegro, the outspoken Tottenham Hotspur fullback has released another honest and unflinching interview to the English football media, this time about his experience with racism in modern football.

The biggest soundbite is his frustration with how incidents of racism have been handled, both by the Premier League and by UEFA, with Rose saying that when he decides to hang up his boots in a few years’ time he will be ready to put the sport completely behind him, calling football’s attempts to combat racist abuse “a farce” and “laughable.”

“I have had enough. At the minute, I’ve programmed myself to just think that I’ve got five or six more years left in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it, seeing how things are done in the game at the minute.

“It’s just ‘whatever’, isn’t it? So you just have to get on with it. That’s how I feel. I feel I’ve got five or six more years left and I just want to enjoy football as much as I can. There’s so many politics in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it to be honest.”

This isn’t the first time that Rose has been subjected to racist abuse while on international duty. Back in 2012, Rose was racially abused while playing with the England’s U21s in a match at Serbia. The Serbian FA not only didn’t address the issue, it came out swinging, calling Rose a liar and saying “Serbia is not and never has been racist.” Just this past summer, Rose cautioned his family and advised them not to travel to Russia for this summer’s World Cup over concerns about racist hooliganism in the country, though it is notable that there were few racially-charged incidents reported at the time.

But there’s no question that black English players like Rose and Sterling have a history of being subjected to racial abuse, both abroad and in England — there have been a number of prominent stories of racism this season, including Chelsea fans screaming racist obscenities at Raheem Sterling during a match against Manchester City, and a Tottenham fan throwing a banana peel at Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Interestingly, Rose directs the bulk of his frustration not at the racists, whom he described as a “very small minority” of Montenegran fans, but at football’s governing organizations such as the Premier League, UEFA, and FIFA. Notably, he directly compared the disproportionate punishment given to Mauricio Pochettino for his confrontation with Mike Dean with the paltry feels assessed to national FAs for incidents of racist abuse.

“I’d prepared myself for what happened [in Montenegro], so I was fine. Had we not been winning, the yellow card I got at the end might have been a red one, but I’m fine. We won and we’ll just wait for whatever punishment – if any punishment happens.

”Obviously it’s sad, but when countries only get fined what I probably spend on a night out in London, then what do you expect? You see my manager [Mauricio Pochettino] get banned for two games for just being confrontational against Mike Dean at Burnley. But yet a country can only get fined a little bit of money for being racist.

“It’s just a bit of a farce at the minute. That’s where we’re at now in football and until there’s a harsh punishment there’s not much else we can expect I don’t think.

“I’m a big boy now. Three points obviously isn’t the most important thing when you’re going through things like that, but I just wanted the team to get three points and we just move on and get out of Montenegro as quickly as possible.”

Rose has been quick to note how he has been supported by his England & Tottenham teammates and particularly by his manager, Mauricio Pochettino. England captain Harry Kane said in an interview after the Montenegro match that he would support leading the England team off the pitch if his teammates are racially abused again, and Pochettino recently said the same about Tottenham.

“I was over the moon [about what Pochettino said. I spoke to [England manager] Gareth [Southgate] after the game. I didn’t mention it at half-time so he wasn’t aware of what was happening until he heard it right at the end.

”The manager was a bit upset to be fair because he said it’s the first time he’s been involved in something like that, and he said he didn’t know what the right course of action was to do. He said he was fully behind me if we wanted to walk off. I appreciate that but as I said I just wanted to get the three points and get out of there as quickly as possible.”

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about Danny Rose is his willingness to say exactly what’s on his mind and not to pull any punches. Tottenham journalists have described him as one of their favorite interview subjects for that very reason. It’s gotten him in hot water before — remember the interview in the Sun from a couple season ago — but his interviews have shone a spotlight on important issues, including perceived inconsistencies in Tottenham’s transfer policies, the stigma of mental illness, and now racism. Rose has been an important voice.

Danny isn’t in danger of rage-quitting football anytime soon — he reiterated a couple of times in the interview that he wants to play another 5-6 seasons of football — but he would be completely justified in doing so after what he has experienced during his career. Rose should be praised for speaking out again about this important issue, and the work that still needs to be done for it to be eradicated from the game.