‘We’d walk off – 100%’: Barry Bannan’s racism response after ‘disgusting’ Sheffield Wednesday incident

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Sheffield Wednesday captain, Barry Bannan, thinks that more can be done to battle racism – insisting that the Owls will always be behind the cause.

An incident at Hillsborough last week saw Coventry City’s Kasey Palmer subjected to racist abuse at the hands of at least one person from the stands as they went on to win 2-1, and in the days since it has been under the national spotlight. Elsewhere, meanwhile, AC Milan’s Mike Maignan walked off in Italy after abuse from Udinese supporters.

As skipper, Bannan was put up for press by the club on Thursday ahead of a third game against the Sky Blues in quick succession, and he used it as an opportunity to make it clear that more needs to be done in order to ‘stamp it out’.

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Speaking to the media this week he said, “We’ve made sure as a squad that everybody is alright, obviously we don’t want to see things like that happening at our club or anywhere in the world. We’ve addressed it, and everybody is fine and ready to go for the next game… We can always do more, I think what we’ve done up to this point is good but it’s not working - so we need to do more. As a community, as a country, as a world. It needs to stop. Until we stamp it out we need to keep going.

“Football is for everyone, so when these things happen it’s disgusting. So we need to do something stronger - we’ve done the knee, we’ve done the strips before games, and it’s still happening. So whatever they decide to come up with we’ll fully back as players and as a club.

“The PFA deal with these sort of things and no doubt they’ll be in in the next couple of weeks or so to make sure that everything that’s happened hasn’t affected people here. We’ve got Palms as our rep for the PFA, so if the players are struggling then they’ll contact Liam and he’ll contact the PFA, so we’ve got people in place to deal with these things.”

The Owls skipper also spoke of how they would ‘100%’ back a player who felt they needed to walk off the pitch if they were subjected to racist abuse, but admitted that it would be nice to have more official clarity in terms of best practice.

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“If the player who has received something racist, like what happened at Hillsborough, decides to walk off then I think as a team – if it happened to any of our players who decided to walk off – then no doubt we’d all walk off together.

“Maybe going forward that could be written in paper, so if that does happen then that’s the go-to. That you have to walk off. Because there needs to be something in place, there can be a bit of confusion so I think there needs to be something in place so if it happens again then there is something that happens following it. But yeah, if it happened to any of our players and they wanted to walk off then we’d walk off as a team - 100%.

“Obviously it’s happened loads in football, but for me it’s the first time it’s happened while I’ve been on the pitch, so we’re all still new to it as much as it has been going on. So it’s hard to find the right way to go about it - I think with the other day with it being quite late on it affected the outcome. Maybe if it was earlier we might have come to the conclusion of walking off - because it was so close to the end that might be why it didn’t happen.

“We’ve got the beauty of playing them again, so we can speak to Kasey tomorrow and make sure that he’s alright going forward.”

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