BLACK Cats star Jermain Defoe is to feature in a new documentary where he speaks about the sickening racist abuse he has suffered.
Campaign group Show Racism the Red Card says it is aware of “rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the country”, through its work with young people and adults.
The organisation argues that the way immigration is discussed in the media and the way politicians discuss immigration, has given rise to a range of myths and disinformation about immigration and immigrants.
Negative perceptions of immigrants and immigration as a whole are leading to increased levels of racism.
As well as SAFC striker Jermain, the film also interviewed fellow Premier League players Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole, Cesc Fabregas and fellow Black Cat Liam Bridcutt.
There are also several interviews with migrants living in the UK, which is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.
The first for me was when we played against Spain for England at the Bernabeu in 2005. There were a few black players in the squad, and that was the first time I experienced the racism.Jermain Defoe
The film is sponsored by the international football players’ union FIFPro, Unite the Union and the National Union of Teachers.
Speaking about the life his family led in London, former Tottenham and West Ham player Jermain, 32, said: “It was difficult, especially for my nan.
“She didn’t speak any English when she first came here, and had no money, no job or anything like that.
“It was difficult. At the time, she had just the two kids. My mum is one of six.
“That fighting spirit that everyone has got in the family to keep going and make something happen for yourself.
“That’s what my nan and grandad did.
“I don’t think I experienced racism too much growing up, but obviously I was aware. I watched John Barnes’ documentary recently, but even before I watched that, I knew what he went through.”
The film will aim to be based on society’s most pressing questions on immigration to offer some balance in the debate.
Providing his view on the problem of racism in football, Jermain spoke about his own experience, saying: “The first for me was when we played against Spain for England at the Bernabeu in 2005.
“There were a few black players in the squad, and that was the first time I experienced the racism.
“To be honest, I didn’t really hear it, because I was so focused on the game. You think, ‘is it me, am I hearing things?’
“It was a big thing after the game.
“I had an incident a few years back at Tottenham against Lazio at home.
“The ball got played, I came off the pitch and they gave me a bit of abuse.
“It was hard to take, but everyone is a different character. I’ve got thick skin. You don’t want to be going through that.
“I hope it’s improving, because at the end of the day it’s 2015 and black players shouldn’t be going onto the pitch and suffering racist abuse.
“It’s not right.”