Wolves' Morgan Gibbs-White on dealing with racism, and the influence of Cyrille Regis

Written by on January 14, 2020

Morgan Gibbs-White
            </figure><p class="sp-story-body__introduction">When Morgan Gibbs-White was called a "monkey" during the Under-17 World Cup final three years ago, it was the second time he had been racially abused. The first had been during an English Schools national cup quarter-final.</p>

“I think I was about 15,” the Wolves forward tells BBC Sport.

“We were winning 4-0 or 5-0 and there was a heated situation. One of their players started being racist to me. He eventually got kicked out of the sport.”

The alleged perpetrator of the second incident avoided a similar fate. During the match, which England won 5-2, Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster asked Gibbs-White if he had heard one of the Spanish players call him a “monkey”. Gibbs-White said he had, but wondered whether he was alone in thinking that.

The incident was raised with world governing body Fifa, which ruled a year later there was not “sufficient evidence” to warrant punishment.

Gibbs-White had become a statistic – another professional footballer who had been racially abused.

During that season, anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out reported there were 304 complaints of discriminatory behaviour relating to race and faith in England. That increased to 334 the following season, and there was a further 43% increase in racist abuse alone during 2018-19.

“Racism will never stop,” says Gibbs-White. “I think because racism is talked about a lot more, this is what racist people thrive off. They step out of line and try to create a scene or make a statement.”

Despite that, the 19-year-old is hopeful about the future.

He adds: “With more awareness, the more it should die down. It’s not fair to judge people on the colour of their skin. We’re here to play football and not get verbally abused.”

‘Cyrille became like a family member’

During his formative years, Gibbs-White came to the attention of former England striker Cyrille Regis.

Regis, a football icon who fought prejudice during three decades as a player, was an agent at the time and had been alerted to Gibbs-White’s talents by the player’s father, who had become a good friend.

“He used to come and watch me a lot, all over the country,” Gibbs-White says proudly. “He said he wanted to work with me and help me become a better player.

“From then we clicked – he became like a family member.”

Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Birmingham and Black Country

From: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51024444

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