New father Rudiger wants to protect his son from 'stupidity' of racism
The Chelsea defender was booed in the London derby against Tottenham after previously reporting racism
Antonio Rudiger has renewed vigour to speak out against racism following the birth of his first child and has slammed the football authorities for leaving black players to face racism alone.
Chelsea defender Rudiger was booed by Tottenham fans at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after the Germany international alleged he was abused during the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Police were unable to find evidence to support or deny Rudiger’s claim and have closed their investigation into the incident, which would be a criminal offence in UK law.
Three stadium announcements were made at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after Rudiger was seen on camera claiming the monkey chants had been made. More broadly, there has been a spike in incidents reported to the UK charity Kick It Out and many of those have been caught on camera in Europe’s top leagues.
Rudiger was delighted to see his team win 2-1 against Spurs but opened up about how he believes the authorities are failing to control the rise in hate crime.
“I’m not trying to offend but you [white] people will never understand what goes through my mind in this moment, or other black players’ minds, I am alone. I am totally alone,” Rudiger said at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s nice if people are speaking up for me but at the end of the day, it just replays. Authority wise I’m alone. I heard about it [being booed]. It’s sad. I don’t know why they would. Maybe it’s because I voiced about the racism.
“If you boo me because of that then you are poor people. I am sorry. This is a sign that we have a very big problem. At the end of the day, I am alone in this case because I am the one who has to swallow this.
“With the win it makes me feel like a bit like, yes OK, but it makes me feel like it will always be like this. For me, in this case, racism won. I’m very careful with this. I’m not in the investigations. I’m not a police officer. I just hope always people do their job right.
“But nothing happened and, to be honest, it was not a surprise. For me, it was not a surprise, because they always get away with it. Not always, sometimes they get punished, but mostly they get away with it.
“The support from my club was there. Also players and everything. For me this was not enough. These people need to be punished. They need educating. It’s a lack of education, simple. We all, even including you, we all failed in this.
“Because if people are really honest, we have so many people coming into the stadium and in that game when it happened against me, Chelsea fans got arrested and why, because Chelsea fans reported the other Chelsea fans who abused [Heung-min] Son.
“So on the other side, nothing happened. It’s the people who were around. And that’s why I say if we don’t stand up, racism won. I will always stand up. It’s not only about myself. It can be homophobic or something like that.
“It’s about standing up for people. I think this is normal. I’m not hurting anyone. I’m not killing anyone. I will always stand up for other people. I will not leave anyone like this.”
Due to the lack of proof over the incident, Rudiger has faced far-fetched claims from some Spurs supporters for making up the incident in December.
Rudiger revealed he went onto have a chat with Harry Kane in doping control after the game and the Spurs captain apologised directly to him on behalf of his club.
Only last week, Porto striker Moussa Marega walked off the pitch in protest after being subjected to racist abuse away at Vitoria Guimaraes. The footage quickly went viral and Rudiger thinks it is a good example of how football fails to understand how it can control these rising tensions.
“There you see, he wants to leave the pitch and his team-mates try to stop him,” Rudiger added. “And there it was clear, everyone heard it. And his own team-mates held him back to stay on the pitch. He was alone. And he was booked for going out because he was racially abused.
“It’s simple; we are alone in this. We have to deal with it in our way. Walking off the pitch doesn’t make sense if they still don’t get punished. Does it make sense to walk off the pitch? I don’t think so.
“As a consequence? This is not a consequence because the consequence maybe I am again the bogeyman. What point is it if I leave the pitch and no-one gets punished?
“At the end, how people write stuff, I will be the booed man again. If there is no punishment for these people, racism won. That’s how I see it.”
Rudiger came into the game against Spurs having seen his partner gave birth to their son Djamal Sahr and he described adding a derby win to the birth of his first child as the best week of his life.
“Definitely. 100% [the best week of my life]. And to win a derby, it is even better. A very good week. This week was a week with ups and downs. But more ups, especially for me because of the birth of my son – the first birth. It was tough days for me but with this win I am very happy.
“I’m very tired right now. I’m happy. Now I’m going to the hospital and finally, he comes home. It’s very tough but with this game, I’m very happy. Firstborn child. I have never experienced this type of emotion or what was going on in my head.”
Now the 26-year-old is a father, he is keen to see his son grow up in a less toxic world and he has renewed vigour to try to speak out against racism.
“Of course because if it happens at football, it is also happening outside and outside my son is going to be growing up,” he concluded. “I will try to do my best. I will do my best to make sure my son is not stupid like other people. Sorry for this word, I don’t have any other words for this.”
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