Exclusive: PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle's 'disgusting' words slammed by leading black player Jason Roberts

Roberts appalled by Carlisle’s description of Ferdinand brothers in his autobiography after Kick It Out row

The Reading striker Jason Roberts has tonight claimed that the Professional Footballers’ Association chairman, Clarke Carlisle, has heaped further abuse on victims of racial discrimination by describing Rio and Anton Ferdinand as “shithouses” in his autobiography – language which Roberts considers “disgusting” and inappropriate for a players’ union leader.

Carlisle made the outspoken attack on his fellow professionals in response to the boycott of the Kick it Out anti-racism T-shirt campaign, led by Roberts last October amid deep frustration among black players about the organisation’s low profile after the racial abuse of Patrice Evra and Anton Ferdinand. Carlisle has now characterised those involved as cowards who, he wrote, “would happily throw in a grenade, but do nothing when it explodes, nothing other than appear to hide behind their advisers. That’s because they are sh*thouses”.

But Roberts staunchly defended the action the players took, stating that Carlisle and the PFA were made acutely aware last year of the concerns of around 30 black players. He said Carlisle has “misrepresented” the concerns of those players, who have made detailed proposals for change in a document – entitled The Way Forward – which was distributed to the PFA and other governing bodies last year.

“Clarke’s comments have totally misrepresented and trivialised what was a highly sensitive and emotive issue in the football industry, and players like Anton now find themselves being subjected to abusive language, when they have been on the receiving end of abuse and victimisation,” Roberts told The Independent on Sunday. “It is also the language that concerns me. For the PFA chairman to call players ‘sh*thouses’ is wholly inappropriate. It’s disgusting. Clarke was fully aware of the issue and the reasons why we staged the protest. We raised our concerns long before the decision not to wear the T-shirts was taken by many players, both black and white. Kick it Out’s silence was a huge worry and frustration.”

The Ferdinand brothers, Rio and Anton, issued a statement at the time of the T-shirt protest saying that “times change, organisations need to change with them” and they wanted “privately” to help make Kick It Out “more relevant in its fight to stamp out racism in football”.

The PFA have since published a six-point plan to deal with the issues raised. The players’ union has since added four staff to its equality unit, which was previously staffed by only one officer. A players’ advisory board has also been established at Kick it Out and a new PFA course teaching corporate governance to players with the aim of securing more places for ethnic minorities and women on the boards of clubs and governing bodies.

Roberts, a member of the PFA’s management committee for the past three years who has led the campaign for greater appreciation of the issue of race in football, added:  “We have been characterised as beating up on a small charity which has very little money or resource. That is a total misrepresentation. We had our concerns about Kick it Out and we were fighting for its soul and its independence. Perhaps that fight for independence has not been won  but we have never given up on it.” 

Carlisle could not be reached tonight, though since the publication of the comments in his autobiography, You Don’t Know Me, But... A Footballer’s Life, Carlisle has said that his comments only reflected his feelings at the time of the boycott. He has said that having since talked with the players in question he understands their position. “The danger of serialisation of the book was that they are my personal opinions at that moment in time,” he said last week.

Jason Roberts, who tweets at @jasonroberts30, has also responded to the comments about last year’s protest in a blog on his website www.digitaljasonroberts.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test