Sunderland AFC and Ladies footballers help pupils to Show Racism the Red Card
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First team players Alim Ozturk and George Dobson were joined by Sunderland Ladies player Charlotte Potts and Black Cats’ legend Gary Bennett for a question and answer session with Year 6 pupils from three primary schools.
Among the searching topics they were asked about were their experiences of racism both on an off the pitch – and how they have responded when faced by it.
Centre-half Osturk spoke about comments aimed at his family when they moved from Turkey to Holland while midfielder Dobson recalled an incident while he was a schoolboy in which his coach asked his team to leave the field after a player was subjected to monkey chants in Italy.
Defender Potts discussed how she had seen deaf people use inappropriate sign language.
Bennett told the audience: “It is not just black people or people with different-coloured skin it can happen to.
“It can happen to anyone in this room.”
Around 100 pupils from Grangetown, Bexhill and Blackfell primaries also took part in sessions exploring racism, stereotypes and hate crime.
They were also treated to a tour of the ground and autographs from the panel.
The day was organised by Show Racism the Red Card, the United Kingdom’s largest anti-racism educational charity, with similar events to be held soon at both Middlesbrough and Newcastle United football clubs.
Ged Grebby, chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card, praised Sunderland for their support.
He added: “Kids get excited by coming to the ground and it is an inspiring place to learn about the wrongs of racism by meeting and listening to the first team players speak.”
Formed nearly a quarter of a century ago in the North East, Show Racism the Red Card worked with 40 football clubs across England last season to deliver anti-racism workshops to young people and further details about the charity’s work is available at www.theredcard.org