Richards opens up on racism and says he still gets looked at like "an alien"

Micah Richards has opened up on the enduring fight against racism and revealed he still suffers discrimination on a daily basis.

Former Manchester City and Aston Villa defender Richards has been one of the most eloquent and passionate voices on the topic of racism in football, drawing on his own experience.

Richards, now a Sky pundit, revealed he still gets stared at by people where he lives, simply because of the colour of his skin, and wants to use his voice and profile to tackle such prejudice.

“I live in Harrogate in Yorkshire and the way some of the older people look at me is like they're looking at an alien,” said Richards. ”It's weird.

“That’s the older generation. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.”

Richards, 32, wants to encourage more public debate about racism, to understand why some people still hold such prejudiced views and ultimately bring an end to discrimination.

“If we're going to change the future, we've got to have that conversation into why you feel that way,” said Richards, in a digital address to 250 young leaders from 23 countries, as part of an initiative set up by his old club City.

“I deal with racism a lot better now, because I see things from a different perspective from when I was younger.

“Now I'm trying to learn a little bit more. We know it happens in everyday society.

“I just want to help as many people as I can and have a conversation and let them express their feelings.”

Richards said he has been a victim of racism throughout his life, from growing up, through to his playing days and into the new phase of his career.

“I was working for Sky when the plane went over the Etihad Stadium with ‘white lives matter’,” said Richards. “Of course white lives matter.

“Some of the most prominent people in my life are white. Nobody is saying white lives don’t matter. Of course they do, everyone’s life matters.

“But for the plane to go over at that moment of time – with what was happening in the world in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in the USA and more widely with the history of racism against black people – I saw that as a massive disrespect.

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“I'd love to know why those who organised that plane feel that way. Ten or fifteen years ago, I'd have reacted in a different way.

“Now I'd like to learn why they felt they had to fly a plane over during a game.

“I like to see things from other people’s perspectives now and learn why, because I'd obviously like them to learn why black people or ethnic minorities feel a certain way.

“It's difficult because there are so many people who aren’t racist at all, but they feel uncomfortable talking about the matter.

“If they can be open to have that conversation as to why they feel uncomfortable, then it can only be for the better.”

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