News & Media News Comment: Footballers have little choice but to take matters into their own hands when it comes to racism More and more footballers are following the lead of Colin Kaepernick and I salute them. The authorities, with all their resources and power, are failing them time and time again. So players have little choice but to take matters into their own hands. This isn’t the first time Danny Rose has opened up about racial abuse he’s received. Danny has said he can’t wait to see the back of football, citing his disillusionment with “politics in the game”. And there will be plenty in football who can’t wait to see the back of him. By speaking out as a high-profile player, he has become a thorn in the side of those who would rather footballers stick to playing football and looking glamorous. Let us stick to criticising them for that. They’re scared of the damage this will do to the image of the beautiful game if its most important commodities are making the wrong sort of headlines. But unless we see proper action from these very people, this won’t go away. Mark my words: there will be more and more players speaking out and taking increasingly bolder steps in protest. And the sport’s image will suffer more. It’s a sorry state of affairs when a man is desperate to turn his back on his livelihood because his industry has failed to protect him - and so many others like him. Football has far, far more resources than many other industries. Are you telling me it can’t do more to get a grip on discrimination? Don’t get me started on the punishments currently in place. I’ve only got 600 words. The game is awash with money at the highest level. So fining a national association to the tune of a few thousand as a ‘punishment’ is verging on pointless. European football rules say if fans are racist, "the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure". But does closing a stadium change the mindset of people, which is ultimately what is driving this abuse? It’s a short-term fix that papers over the cracks. The same people, with the same views, will be back for the next game. We have to hit them where it hurts. That means extended stadium bans, points deductions and, ultimately, expulsions. But, where possible, people need to be educated. A ban, fine, or points deduction alone will not change their views. Without a sustainable solution we’ll find ourselves back at square one. I’ll be writing another column about the same issue in the near future. My job at Kick It Out involves travelling up and down the country to give educational workshops to academy and under-23 players, staff and parents at Premier League and EFL clubs. One theme constantly pops up in these sessions: there is no confidence that the punishments currently dished out for racism are sufficient enough to act as a deterrent. I’m a parent and I know other parents feel uneasy about putting their children into an environment where racism is rife. I know this because they’ve told me. Does the enjoyment they get from the game outweigh the impact of being racially abused when they’re simply trying to play football? I’m not so sure. This week I met a manager of a grassroots football team, who told me one of his players – a teenage boy – no longer wanted to play football after suffering racist abuse while playing. Fortunately, he changed his mind. But there will be others who don’t. How is this fair? How is it still being allowed to happen without proper action being taken? It’s not the victims who we need rid of. Football is at risk of losing future generations of players at all levels of the game unless those with the power to get a grip on this situation, namely the governing bodies, do so.