Ex-official of a UK soccer team under fire for “lazy stereotyping” of Black players

An anti-racism organization has accused a former official at soccer clubs in England and Wales of using “callous language” to stereotype Black players. In an interview with The Pink Un, a local newspaper in Norwich, Stuart Webber, who resigned from his position as sporting director of Norwich City last year, mentioned five Black players he had worked with: Jonny Rowe, Abu Kamara, Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis, and Raheem Sterling. In an interview regarding his impending four-week adventure to climb Mount Everest for charity, Webber made these remarks. He continued, “Where [the players] come from, it had to work out for them in football because the alternative is potentially jail or something else. We want to help the guys who really need it, not the ones who are maybe privileged.” The remarks on X, formerly known as Twitter, have drawn strong criticism.

The sports anti-discrimination organization Kick It Out called the remarks “racially profiling” and “deeply offensive and concerning.” Kick It Out stated, “To read such callous language being used by someone who was a senior executive at the top of the English game until recently paints a very damning picture.” “It is evidently distressing for the individuals who have been singled out, and it also demonstrates an extreme lack of consideration for their families, who have been integral to the players’ experiences,” CNN has made an effort to get in touch with Webber.

Co-founders of the Summit Foundation with his wife Zoe, Webber collaborates with other nonprofits to develop youth-focused initiatives. One of the foundation’s goals, according to its website, is to use education to break the cycle of poverty. “We need to inspire the youth in this community, give them goals to work toward, and if we can, provide financial support,” he stated to The Pink Un. “We will carry on with the charitable work after Everest.” Kamara, a striker on loan from Norwich City to League One outfit Portsmouth, expressed his and his family’s “deep sadness and shock” over Webber’s comments in a statement posted on X. “I want to say to all the black and ethnic minority children that you don’t have to be a professional athlete to avoid living a life of crime,” he continued, emphasizing how crucial it is to dispel this myth for younger audiences. “I acknowledge the sacrifices my family has made for me to be able to play football, and I am proud of my background.

These comments indicate that more work has to be done before everyone is treated fairly. In a post on X, Lewis’ mother Catrina described Webber’s comments as “very unprofessional,” while Aarons’ mother Amber stated that there was “not a chance any of those boys… would have been in jail.” Webber’s remarks “do not in any way reflect the wider views of the football club,” Norwich said in a statement on Monday. “Since the interview was published, club representatives have concentrated on having direct conversations with Jonathan Rowe and Abu Kamara to learn about their concerns and provide support,” the statement continued. “The club is currently conversing with Kick It Out and corresponding with the other players on the list. “Everyone has a home in Norwich City.” We are steadfast in our efforts to foster an atmosphere where everyone feels appreciated and welcomed in the areas of equality, diversity, and inclusion. Webber previously worked at Huddersfield Town, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Queens Park Rangers, Liverpool, and Wrexham. His wife Zoe is an executive director at Norwich City.

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