Former Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng has come out to speak against racism and how he has suffered from it as a player. He said he used to walk away when he is faced with racism but he is no longer a coward and he has to face it.
Since George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer in the United States by resting his knee on the neck of the deceased for over 8 minutes, there has been widespread agitation against racism, police brutality and injustice in the country.
Kevin-Prince Boateng who currently plays for Beşiktaş on loan from Fiorentina, could not but join the millions of voices calling for the immediate end to racism and any other form of discrimination against the blacks.
One of the famous of them was when he had to walk off from the pitch during a friendly match in 2013 while playing for AC Milan. He told Sky Sports that he has been called a monkey severally and football fans have always chanted at him that for every goal he scores he would get a banana.
He said some have even told him: “We’ll put you in a box and send you back to your country. The ‘n word’ has been used a lot of times. [They throw water and say] maybe we can wash off the dirt.
“People change sides when I’m walking on the street, look at me funny when I’m in my car. Police stop me for no reason, it happens so many times maybe because I’m a black guy with tattoos and a nice car they think I am a criminal.
“I’ve worked my all my life to be a footballer but you just judge me for what I look like? It was worse when I was growing up.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng is fed up of racism
Boateng who has an ancestry that is rooted in Ghana, a west-Africa country; chose to play for the country even though he was eligible to play for Germany, his country of birth, was reportedly planning to move to a club in the Major League Soccer this summer before the brutal murder of George Floyd.
America is said to be more pronounced in terms of racial abuse than Europe. If his reported move to the American league materialises, the 33-year-old midfielder will depend so much on the strong skin he has developed against racial abuses.
He said: “When I was young I always tried to ignore racism and swallow it. When I talk to people now [who knew me then], they say ‘back in the day you never felt like this, you cried, went home and never said anything’. I tell them [that is] because I was a coward. I wasn’t strong enough and did not believe in what I wanted to do.
“I’m not a coward anymore. That was the moment when I was fed up, it was enough. I felt sad, angry, I hated the world. I wanted to show the world I’m not going to let them do that to me anymore. After what I have been through, what I have sacrificed. You won’t judge me because of the colour of my skin.”