Micah Richards: ‘There was a deep and dark side to my childhood’
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 24/01/2021
Micah Richards has spoken of the “dark side” to his childhood after he faced police discrimination and witnessed a hammer attack that left him “scarred” for more than a decade.
The former Manchester City and England defender grew up in the Chapeltown area of Leeds at a time when it was beset by problems with drugs and guns.
In a new Sky Sports documentary, Tackling Racism in Football, Richards discusses the trauma and discrimination his family experienced throughout his childhood – including the racist abuse faced by his father Lincoln.
“He had dreadlocks and when he was on the sidelines when I was playing football he would be racially abused,” Richards says.
As a pundit, Richards is known for his cheerful disposition and a distinctive laugh which carries almost the length of a football pitch. But there is trauma in his past.
He says police would discriminate against him and other black boys and men and it has shaken his trust in the authorities to tackle racism.
“Someone a couple of doors down might be getting arrested but the police are looking round to see if they can cause more trouble,” Richards says.
“They’re coming and pressing up against you to try and provoke a reaction so they can lock you up.”
He adds: “There was a deep and dark side to my childhood which I don’t speak about much. I’m always smiling and laughing and joking because that’s my personality.
“I’ve seen someone get beaten up with a hammer in front of me.
“It scarred me for 10 or 15 years after it happened, it was just always on my brain.”
I’m delighted to say my documentary, ‘Tackling Racism’ will air on the Sky Documentaries Channel next week. I hope you’ll watch it with an open mind. Thank you to all the contributors & the team @Buzz16_.
🗓 Monday 2️⃣5️⃣ January
📺 Sky Documentariespic.twitter.com/Of50vnt2CL
— Micah Richards (@MicahRichards) January 19, 2021
By confronting the difficult memories and the racism that is still a part of his every day, Richards hopes to change things for the next generation.
He has demanded social media companies improve their rules and regulations to combat the horrific racial abuse of black men in football online.
Richards says it is clear that “big companies like Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough” to protect young footballers from racism.
He says he has been shocked by the abuse he has received, particularly when speaking about issues like Black Lives Matter and players taking the knee.
Micah Richards: Tackling Racism is available on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV from Monday at 9pm. pic.twitter.com/VvvQPGvDLx
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 23, 2021
“When you speak on racial issues you get a lot of keyboard warriors saying hateful things, using the ‘n-word’ and telling you to ‘go back to where you came from’,” Richards says.
“It’s difficult being a black man because you also get abuse from your own black community because if you don’t say exactly what they want to hear you get called ‘coconut’ and ‘sell out’.
“I feel like trying to balance both sides. I don’t pretend to speak for all black people, I’m just speaking from my own experiences.”
In his documentary, Richards reads aloud some of the messages directed at him on Twitter.
One reads: “Why do we have to pretend that blacks have it worst?”
Another reads: “Black person crying racism again, what have black people ever done for the UK?”
Richards, 32, thinks much of the abuse towards black and ethnic minority players has migrated from the stands to social media, particularly with fans not allowed inside stadiums at the moment.
“You shouldn’t be able to even put certain words in [on social media],” he says.
“It’s not fair. It’s difficult talking about it because it makes me upset, not for me but for the next generation because they have to deal with it every day of their lives, every second, every minute of the day.
“Social media companies have this list of rules and regulations but they’re not doing enough.”
Micah Richards: Tackling Racism in Football is being shown on Sky Documentaries on Monday from 9pm
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