Raheem Sterling - another opening goal
And the deadlock was broken late in the game by Manchester City striker Raheem Sterling, netting his third goal of the (delayed) Euro 2020 tournament. Not that you would have guessed that from many of today’s front pages: Harry Kane making it 2-0 later still is the majority choice. With the Duke of Cambridge and his eldest son thrown in.
The Daily Mail has three white figures to celebrate: white fan, white player (Kane), and white Prince George. Sterling gets a rather smaller photo. Same at free sheet Metro (Kane, with Royals inset), the Telegraph (Kane, with manager Gareth Southgate inset), the Murdoch Times (Kane), the i Paper (Kane), and the Express (Kane, with Royals inset).
It was left to the FT to tell readers “Sterling effort”, the Guardian and Mirror to show the England team’s diversity, and the Daily Star, of all papers, to show the diversity of the fan base. So far, so predictable: the player who broke the stalemate, and who had already scored the winner in two group stage matches, was reduced to a bit part.
This had not gone unnoticed by former prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who asked the obvious question of all those mighty white front pages: “Was Raheem Sterling playing today?” But he then saw the front page of the Murdoch Sun, which put Sterling front and centre, albeit with the cringe-inducing headline “55 years of hurt never stopped us Raheeming!”
Afzal mused “Credit to the Sun who don’t think he’s Obscene anymore, apparently”. It was one of the most glaringly obvious editorial U-Turns from a press establishment which has a long and not at all distinguished record of glaringly obvious editorial U-Turns.
This was, after all, the same paper that castigated Sterling for allegedly turning up a day late for training, following that with a racially-tinged attack on the player when he had the audacity to have a tattoo on his leg. That was later linked by the Sun to stabbings on the streets of London. The same paper has also dumped on Sterling for updating his Mum’s house, for going to an after party, and has smeared him as a “love rat”.
Moreover, Sterling has previously called out our free and fearless press for its negative portrayal of black footballers. In return, that press has attacked him for proposing to his girlfriend, shopping at Primark, and of course buying his Mum a house. Former player Ian Wright has concluded that media criticism of Sterling is “tinged with racism”.
And the Sun has been in the vanguard of those attacks. One should not be too easily swayed by their apparent Damascene conversion (which, if in future he misses a sitter in the same way as the Germans did yesterday, will not last so long). Those papers splashing on Kane and the Cambridges have shown us the true press mentality.
That’s just mighty white of them. What you will not read in the papers.
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