'There shouldn't be sheep wandering off': Alex Ferguson questions Jason Roberts over Kick It Out stance

 

Sir Alex Ferguson says all players should wear 'Kick It Out' T-shirts ahead of tomorrow's Premier League games, including Jason Roberts who has said he will refuse to.

Players throughout the Premier League are due to wear T-shirts emblazoned with the name of the anti-discrimination charity this weekend. But Roberts says he feels "let down" by perceived failures of 'Kick It Out', and has decided to make his stance clear by refusing to wear the T-shirt.

Sir Alex Ferguson believes that sends a confusing message, and has condemned Roberts' stance.

"I have to disagree with Jason Roberts. I think he is making the wrong point," the Manchester United manager said this morning.

"Everyone should be united, with all the players in the country wearing the Kick it Out warm-up tops."

Roberts has been angered by the lack of action over the last year, including how the high-profile racism cases involving Luis Suarez and John Terry were dealt with.

"I find it hard to wear a T-shirt after what has happened in the last year. I won't wear one," the Reading striker told the BBC.

"I'm totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there's a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it.

"I think people feel let down by what used to be called 'Let's Kick Racism Out of Football'. People don't feel like they have been strong enough."

Roberts' Reading side play Liverpool this weekend in a match that will feature Suarez, a player banned for eight games after directing racist language at Patrice Evra.

Ferguson added today that he is unclear what Roberts will achieve by refusing to wear the T-shirt.

"I don't know what point he is trying to make.

"I don't know if he is trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone. But he really should be supporting all the rest of the players who are doing it."

"When you do something, and everyone believes in it, you should all do it together. There shouldn't be sheep wandering off.

"I think he is making the wrong message.

"All the players are wearing it. I have only heard that Jason Roberts is different - but he is very different. He plays a game and is in the studio 20 minutes after it. That is a great privilege."

Lord Herman Ouseley, the Kick It Out chairman, has tried to placate Roberts.

"He's not been slow in coming forward about this and I respect his views," said Ouseley.

"I can understand his frustrations. If Kick It Out had the power to sort this out then we would have done. Sorry Jason, we don't have that kind of power.

"We in English football have to get our house back in order," he added. "We have to make sure that the things that have happened in the last year do not happen again, and if they are then they are dealt with in a matter of days rather than taking a year to resolve."

There have been rumours that Roberts would not be alone in refusing to wear the T-shirt, with Aston Villa's black players joining the Reading striker. But manager Paul Lambert said today that all his players would be wearing them ahead of their match at Fulham.

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

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue
E L James's book Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

It's hard to understand why so many are buying it – but then best-selling was ever an inexact science, says DJ Taylor
Behind the scenes of the world's most experimental science labs

World's most experimental science labs

The photographer Daniel Stier has spent four years gaining access to some of the world's most curious scientific experiments
It's the stroke of champions - so why is the single-handed backhand on the way out?

Single-handed backhand: on the way out?

If today's young guns wish to elevate themselves to the heights of Sampras, Graf and Federer, it's time to fire up the most thrilling shot in tennis
HMS Saracen: Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled

HMS Saracen

Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'

7/7 bombings 10 years on

Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'