Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum is the latest player to insist he would walk off the pitch if he ever heard racist chants during a match.
The Reds’ dynamic midfielder spoke to CNN International about the ongoing spate of racism witnessed in football stadiums across Europe.
Former Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli was on the end of racial slurs from Hellas Verona supporters earlier this month, only for his teammates to convince him to stay on the field.
However, Wijnaldum hopes his teammates would support him in walking off the pitch, if he was to receive any racist abuse from those in the crowd.
“It frustrates me a lot to see that because you don’t know what he is feeling,” Wijnaldum said.
“With Balotelli it was not the first time it happened, so you don’t know what he is feeling. Why don’t you support him and walk with him from the pitch? Why don’t you do that?
“They will say: ‘Yeah, don’t let them get in your head’ but they don’t feel the pain of the person who gets racially abused.
“Memphis Depay said it in the conversation that I had with him, really good, that a lot of people don’t understand the pain you feel as a black player if you get abuse.
“Yeah, I would [walk off]. Why should I play, in that case? I think everyone should do it. That’s the way you support another person, because why should you go on?
“If you go on it will never stop, because the people will think: ‘Okay, we will abuse the player, they will go inside, we will stop a little bit, but they will come outside again, we will play the game, so why should we stop?’”
Asked whether he would walk off during a final, the 29-year-old said: “Yeah, I would, for sure, because those things in my opinion cannot happen.
“Everyone will have their own opinion about it, but in my opinion you should also protect the players.”
Wijnaldum’s stance is more than commendable and one that several black players around Europe have attested to.
The Dutchman further added that everyone should “work together and take it seriously,” rather than just relying on more black people in positions of power.
“It might be good if a black person or a few black people are in the position because they know how it feels when you get abused,” Wijnaldum added.
“I think also that white people can solve this problem, everyone can solve this problem. If we work together and take it seriously, then we can solve it.”