Jason Roberts would shake hand of John Terry

 

Reading striker Jason Roberts would shake John Terry's hand, but raised eyebrows yesterday by refusing to say whether he thought the Chelsea skipper was a racist.

Roberts was one of a number of players who last week boycotted Kick It Out's annual initiative of wearing anti-racism T-shirts to highlight their efforts to rid the game of the problem.

The 34-year-old, who is a Kick It Out ambassador, says the organisation, and football authorities, are simply not doing enough to clamp down on the issue, which has reared its head again several times recently.

Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches last season and Terry has recently received a four-match suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, although the former England defender was cleared of a similar charge in a criminal court this summer.

Ferdinand refused to shake Terry's hand when the two met in the latest west London derby, but Roberts said he would never do such a thing.

"I would, yeah," Roberts said when asked whether he would shake Terry's hand.

If that was seen as a diplomatic move to try to reach out to Terry, what followed was far less forthcoming.

When asked whether he thought the 31-year-old was a racist, the straight-faced Roberts replied: "I would shake his hand, definitely."

When the question was asked again, the Granada-born forward again refused to answer it directly and merely repeated the words: "I would shake his hand."

Former England striker Les Ferdinand - cousin of Anton and Rio - believes the Football Association let down "every black person who is interested in football" by only banning Terry for four games.

"The FA have let a lot of black people down," he told BBC Radio Five. "Well, every black person who is interested in football."

The 45-year-old continued: "I've wrestled with 'is John Terry a racist?' What John Terry did was make a racist comment - and you have to suffer the consequences of that.

"If you drink and get your in car and get caught by the police you have to suffer the consequences of that. Whatever it may be.

"It may be the first time, but if you get caught you have to suffer the consequences of that.

"By the FA banning Suarez for eight games... you have to suffer the consequences of your actions."

Kick It Out director Roisin Wood, meanwhile, would welcome talks with any high-profile footballers about the best way to maximise their resources.

In the statement they released on Wednesday night, the Ferdinand brothers - while praising its previous work - called on Kick it Out to make itself "more relevant".

As an organisation with only six full-time members of staff, Kick It Out are already fully stretched.

But rather than recoil at the Ferdinands' stance, Wood embraces it.

"I would always welcome engagement with any high-profile players," she said. "They are crucial to us moving the campaign forward.

"We don't feel the way we are funded does compromise who we are.

"But there obviously is a perception out there that it might do and to be able to have high-profile players raise this debate and discuss it with them would be great for us."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence