Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has come to the defence of teammate Bernardo Silva over the race row over a tweet sent to Benjamin Mendy.
Silva posted the tweet last Sunday and immediately came under fore from charity Kick It Out, claiming it was racial stereotyping. Bernardo later deleted the tweet, however manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool legend John Barnes defended the midfielder, while the FA had confirmed they had written to City for their observations.
But now Sterling, who has himself suffered from racial abuse in the past and was subjected to racial slurs at Chelsea last season, has come to Silva’s defence. “I don’t feel there’s any racism in it,” said Sterling.” It’s a situation between two friends, Bernardo and Mendy, as everyone knows. I can see exactly the point where some people can get touchy-feely on it, but I feel in that situation Bernardo made a joke to his friend.
“He’s not referred to his skin colour, he’s not referred to his lips. In both the pictures they’ve both got small heads, you know. The most important thing for me is he didn’t refer to a colour. I feel it’s really sad to see someone like Bernardo, the whole week, be kind of down about it because he’s not that way inclined. I keep going on about it, they’re really good friends, it’s really sad to see.
“He’s not in the wrong for me but at the same time I can see where people think it’s wrong and we just need to be smarter on social media. We understand in this day and age anything you say and anything you do can quickly be judged and it’s really just a sad situation in this moment in time.
“There’s not one moment he uses a negative term to speak about his skin colour so that’s the most important thing. He tried to make a joke and that joke wasn’t the best, but we’ve got to move on and understand it was not intentional.”
It is understood Mendy himself has written to the FA in support of Bernardo, explaining that he wasn’t offended by the tweet.