Yesterday, the PFA was made aware of BBC Radio Derby’s Sportscene programme in which Craig Ramage made racist remarks about the young black players at Derby County.
During his match analysis, Ramage discussed the need to bring some of the players ‘down a peg or two’, later stating this is the advice he’d offer the ‘young black lads’.
We were dismayed by the casual and racist stereotyping exposed on air, a reflection of views that are sadly all too common within the industry. We were also incredibly disappointed that these comments went unchallenged by the on-air presenter. When professionals within the industry share these views, it legitimises the racist abuse the players are regularly receiving from the stands and on social media.
Derby County’s Max Lowe – who was mentioned by name in the segment - released his own statement via Instagram. We were in contact with Max yesterday and applaud him (and teammate Jayden Bogle) for speaking out, we will continue to offer our full support.
We welcome the fact that Craig Ramage has issued a full apology, in which he stated: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for a comment that I made after yesterday’s game. What I said was wholly inappropriate and unintentional. Race is irrelevant to the issues that I was discussing and I deeply regret what I said. I sincerely hope that the players accept my apology.”
BBC Derby Sport have confirmed they 'will no longer be working with Craig'. However, initially yesterday there seemed to be an attempt to edit out words referring to race from the available audio - the fact that this was done without acknowledgement or apology from the BBC is deeply troubling and requires a full explanation from the station at the earliest opportunity.
We continue to urge players to speak out against any racist attitudes or discriminatory language and behaviour that they may receive or witness during the course of their work.
Max Lowe’s Post on Instagram read:
As a young black footballer making my way in the game, I was shocked by comments made by one of the analysts on BBC Radio Derby’s Sportscene programme after our 1-1 draw with Huddersfield.
With the support from people I have around me — and after reading today that Raheem Sterling is to spearhead an anti-racism and anti-discrimination taskforce on behalf of players from all backgrounds — I have decided to speak out on behalf of black footballers at Derby County.
Racial ignorance, stereotyping and intolerance negatively affects the image of impressionable young footballers and creates an unnecessary divide in society.
I am also disappointed that a public service broadcaster did not step in to ask the analyst to explain his reasoning, or to distance themselves from these archaic thoughts.
This was broadcast at the same time BBC Derby is promoting a 27-minute feature with former Rams defender Charlie Palmer about the difficulties he faced a as a young black footballer in the 1980s.
As a professional footballer at an ambitious, high-profile Championship club I know that my performances will be scrutinised and I have no problem with that whatsoever — but I do not think it is acceptable for myself and my team-mate Jayden Bogle to be judged by the colour of our skin.
Thank you for taking your time reading this — in a world where you can be anything, be kind.