Wright left "welling up" by Gerrard as football unites to combat racism

Football legend Ian Wright says the impact of "white allies" is crucial in the ongoing fight against racism.

Players, clubs, leagues and media bodies – including Mirror Sport – have come together to boycott social media between 3pm on Friday April 30 and 11.59pm on Monday May 3 in a bid to force the companies to do more to combat hate and discrimination online.

The boycott meant that social media accounts of football clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Leeds United remained silent on Saturday despite the teams being in action, with City's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace taking them to the cusp of winning the Premier League title.

The Premier League itself also did not post updates from the matches, while football greats of the past – such as Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker – and present – like Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford – also stayed silent.

Speaking on a video posted by the Premier League Twitter account shortly before the boycott began, former Arsenal and England striker Wright was filmed in conversation with Alan Shearer when he discussed how football figures such as Liverpool icon and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard can make a difference in the fight against racism.

Gerrard launched a staunch defence of his player Glen Kamara when he was racially abused by Slavia Prague player Ondrej Kudela in a Europa League match in March.

Kudela was subsequently banned for 10 matches after being found guilty, and Wright says Gerrard's actions after the match deserved acclaim.

"What you need is white allies, Al," said Wright when addressing Shearer.

"Did you see the Stevie Gerrard interview the other day after Kamara?

"It was so good, Al. I was welling up.

"Because we're talking about a proper legend. When he speaks you'll listen to what he says, when he looks you in the eye.

"And when that happened he had total faith and trust in what his player told him. And that doesn't happen.

"What Stevie Gerrard showed as an ally was, 'I believe him', to the point where he said 'I'd put him up there with my kids'.

"That's what you need, Al.

Mirror Sport joins social media blackout

Mirror Sport is proud to stand in solidarity with everyone who faces hate and discrimination online.

Our sports social media accounts will be silent from 3pm on Friday 30 April to midnight on Monday 3 May.

We stand with football against hate.

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"He didn't wait for… 'well let's see what happens… we have to see what they say… we have to see legislation… we can't speak because of the lawyers…', he just came out and backed him."

Wright went on to discuss how white people can often be afraid of discussing matters to do with race, with Shearer admitting that he had been in the past.

He went on to praise an interview by Burnley captain Ben Mee last season after fans had flown a 'White Lives Matter' banner over a Clarets match, adding that he felt "emotional" when the likes of Mee, Gerrard and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson – who is currently campaigning against online hate – "get it" when it comes to fighting racism.

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