Clarke Carlisle criticises unfair

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Clarke Carlisle, the former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, believes the criticism of Raheem Sterling’s tattoo of an M16 assault rifle is “unfair” and has called for the England forward to be left in peace as he prepares for the World Cup finals next month.

Sterling, who is training with Gareth Southgate’s squad before England’s first warm-up match against Nigeria at Wembley on Saturday, featured on the Sun’s front page for a second day in a row on Wednesday despite his explanation that the symbol had been chosen as a tribute to his father, who was murdered in Jamaica when the Manchester City player was two years old.

Richard Taylor, whose son Damilola was killed after a street attack in Peckham in 2000, has accused Sterling of “glamorising” gun violence and urged him to apologise to “the families of gun victims”. Jacob Larsson Authentic Jersey But Carlisle was adamant that Sterling has been singled out for attempting to use a tragic event in his life as a catalyst for his career.
“People seem to be looking for any reason to be outraged these days but who are we to dictate what grief should look like?” Carlisle told the Guardian. “This is a young man who lost his father at a very young age and that symbol is a sign of something that is very important.
“He’s reappropriated it and given it a dual meaning to give him a catalyst to further himself and his professional career. How can anyone say that’s outrageous? I think he’s done a magnificent Malcolm Subban Youth jersey thing in very tough Todd Helton Youth jersey times. Let the man grieve in his way. Every credit to him – people need to keep their noses out of his private business.”
Piers Morgan has been among the most vocal of critics, describing the tattoo as “offensive and misguided”. Carlisle, who was part of a PFA delegation that met the former prime minister David Cameron in 2012 to discuss racism and homophobia in football, insisted Sterling’s decision could provide a positive message to children.
“A young kid will look at it and they will ask – if they ask they will hear the positive message behind it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any coincidence it’s just before the World Cup – our media seem to want to totally derail any possibility of going into the tournament with any positive focus. I don’t know why that is. Why not let the guy go about his work in peace?
“The way they have gone about this is totally unfair – they’ve taken something that is personal to him and compared it to another situation that is tragic to someone else. The media has chosen to connect those two things together and that’s not fair.
“The sad thing is that even if people choose to ignore it, the seed has been planted. This kind of thing happens all the time – it plants a seed for people to water and grasp at should anything go wrong on a professional basis. It’s ridiculous because as soon as he does anything wrong in Russia he will be lambasted.”
The Football Association has defended Sterling’s tattoo, praising his “honest and heartfelt” explanation for the choice in a statement this week. However, the former Nigeria striker Efan Ekoku admitted that the controversy could easily have been avoided.
“A gun is a symbol of oppression, destroyer of families and a weapon of war however you try to dress it up,” he said. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to glamorise guns but other people clearly see it differently.
“You have to be careful how you use symbols, especially if you are in the public eye. All famous people have a responsibility to themselves first Johnny Hekker Youth jersey and foremost to set an example but often you do things for selfish reasons. I’m sure Raheem has done it without thinking of the full consequences. It’s a shame because it’s a distraction for him and the England team.”

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