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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Micah Richards column
Micah Richards
By Micah Richards
Manchester City and England defender

As a footballer, and a black footballer, it means a lot to me to support Kick It Out - football's anti-racism campaign - and its 'One Game, One Community' action this week.

Obviously it is a good cause - people should not judge others by the colour of their skin or their religion.

We all know racism still exists. It will not just disappear either.

Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards
I have had my own experiences of racism and it is important for people to know that it is something that is being addressed

But football is a great way of trying to deal with the issue and I am glad clubs in this country are doing everything they can to stamp out discrimination.

You will have seen me and the rest of the Manchester City players wearing the campaign T-shirts before Saturday's game against Birmingham and, I can promise you, we wore them because we meant it, not just for the sake of it.

I have had my own experiences of racism and it is important for people to know that it is something that is being addressed.

In England it is not as bad as it was 20 years ago and, in 20 years time, hopefully it will be better than it is now.

I have only suffered abuse when I was young or when playing for England in different countries.

The first time I had to deal with it from other players was when I was 11 and playing for Leeds City Boys, and then a couple of times with my school team.


And playing for England Under-21s against Germany last year, myself and Anton Ferdinand got a bit of stick too.

I suppose I have been quite lucky. Some players have had it worse.

In 2004, my friends Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermain Defoe got barracked during England's friendly with Spain in Madrid.

If the crowd constantly make monkey noises when you get the ball, that does affect your performance - it really upsets you.

If it was up to me I would ban fans who do that from coming to the stadium - simple. A fine of 50,000, which is what the Spanish FA got, is nothing is it?

My team-mate at City, Nedum Onuoha, got similar treatment playing for England Under-21s against Serbia in June.

Shaun Wright-Phillips (l) and Nedum Onuoha
Wright-Phillips and Onuoha have both suffered racist abuse on international duty

Ned has heard it all before, he has learnt to deal with it and he is not the sort of guy to react. That doesn't make it all right though, obviously.

You might say 'he only called you this or that - you've got to be able to take it' - but it actually hurts and some people don't seem able to understand that.

Off the pitch, I've been through it on a few occasions.

When I'm out with friends I sometimes have to bite my lip. It makes me angry and think 'why do you have to say that?' but you have to get on with things.

If you retaliate, you have lost the battle. I am not saying I never have but that is not how I deal with it now.

It is nice to be able to support a charity I feel strongly about and it is the same for every cause I get behind - I will do anything I can to help.

My auntie passed away last week with cancer so I will be doing something with Cancer Research soon.

I know I am a role model and it is nice that people listen to me but I am only 19 and it is weird to have older people looking up to me as well.

I am not ever going to get too big for my boots or anything like that though - like I've said before, my dad always keeps me grounded.

But he always told me that if I can help anyone out then I should and, if I can send the right message about a good cause, then I am happy to do it.

  • Micah Richards was talking to Chris Bevan

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