Forbes - Get tough on football racists

Former Canaries favourite Adrian Forbes has joined the growing row over racism in football – insisting that there should be no pussy-footing around the issue.

The 32-year-old admitted he had been subject to abuse from supporters of one of the teams he played for in a career which began at Carrow Road back in the mid-90s.

The racism issue has reared its ugly head in recent weeks, with England captain John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez both accused of using abusive words on the football pitch, and golfer Tiger Woods criticised for his lukewarm response to controversial comments made by his former caddie, Steve Williams.

Forbes believes Woods' reaction was wrong.

'Tiger Woods was, to a certain extent, defending what his ex-caddy had said, and whilst he might not necessarily come across as a racist, shall we say, it was still a racist slur,' said Forbes.

'For Tiger Woods to come out and say, 'oh yes, he did say it, but never mind he's not a racist', it sort of backs up what people say and it gives them the opportunity to get away with it by almost agreeing with them.

'For me, as a black player who has forged a career in the game – obviously never had the pleasure of playing in the Premier League – I have been on the receiving end of it and for me it is one of those situations that shouldn't be in the game.

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'I am married to a white woman, I have mixed race kids, big deal. We are all the same, we all have red blood.'

Terry is currently under investigation after claims he made racist remarks towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. The Metropolitan Police are investigating, but Terry has still been picked for the England squad which plays friendlies against Spain and Sweden over the next few days.

'Yes, the FA are investigating, but for someone of John Terry'sstature, standard and quality to be captain of England, which is a multi-cultural basin, which is white, black, Asian, Chinese – it is just a bit strange to me that something else has not been done. If he is found guilty I am not expecting them to throw the book at him or say he will never play in the game again, but I think some form of stand needs to be made so that people out there know they can't do it and they can't continue to get away with it.'

Forbes, who currently plays for Lowestoft Town after a career which also included spells at Luton, Swansea City, Blackpool, Millwall and Grimsby, believes black players must speak up about abuse.

'Black players, whether it is at this level or a higher level, need to come out and speak about it, as Ian Wright has done, and show that they won't allow it to happen and will continue to stand up for themselves.

'I have not faced it so much at this level, but I think there are a few more black players at this level. To a certain extent I think it is a case that when there are so many black players within the teams you can't get away with it and couldn't say it. That is not to say that people in the stands don't do it.

'Sadly I don't think it will ever be put to bed, but people need to stand up to it and people need to say what they think is right to try and eradicate it from the game.

'Will it ever go away? Probably not, but for me to try and sweep it under the carpet is not the right way. For me it has never been at the forefront of my mind to have a go at someone because of the colour of their skin. It is not something that would cross my mind.

'I have played at clubs where I have experienced it from my own fans sadly – I won't name the club. And I experienced it from away team fans as well.

'To a certain extent you think, 'yes that is the way of the world', but ultimately you think there has got to be something else you can say that won't be as offensive if you want to upset me or get at me.

'Abuse my style of football – fine that is not a problem, but do you really need to bring my skin colour into it? No.

'My eldest kid is 11 and I have got a seven-year-old and a two-year-old who will face it and come across it and I think anything I can do now to raise awareness of it and try and stop it might help them in 10, 15 years time. It will still be about then, but we must try and do what we can now to try and stamp it out.'

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