Danny Rose breaks silence about facing racist abuse in Montenegro

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Danny Rose has spoken emphatically and candidly about his personal feelings and career plans in breaking his 10-day silence about the racist abuse he and England’s other black players faced during the Three Lions’ game in Montenegro last month.

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While the likes of manager Gareth Southgate and players Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi chose to speak about the incident in the minutes immediately following the final whistle, Rose says he wanted to keep his thoughts to himself and speak with a number of important figures in his life before going public with his thoughts.

While his manager and some of his teammates weren’t aware of the racist chanting which had been taking place until the game’s second half, Rose was acutely aware of what was happening, though he says he didn’t bring it up to Southgate at halftime — quotes from the Telegraph:

“I spoke to Gareth after the game and he hadn’t been aware (of the racism). I didn’t mention it at halftime, so he wasn’t aware of what was happening until he heard it right at the end.

“The manager was a bit upset to be fair, because he told us it was the first time he’d been involved with something like that and he said he didn’t know what the right course of action was. He said he was fully behind me if we wanted to walk off. I just wanted to get the three points and get out of there as quickly as possible.”

Southgate offered nothing but full backing to his players after the game, striking the perfect balance of anger over the events and the feeling of failure given the level of responsibility he feels as someone in a position of prominence and power.

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It’s not the first time Rose has dealt with racism while playing for England. As a member of the U-21 team for a trip to Serbia in 2012, a similar incident occurred which had Rose prepared for — and expecting — more of the same this time around. Serbia was fine all of $85,000 by UEFA and forced to play one game behind closed doors.

“I sort of prepared myself for what happened. We won and now we just wait for whatever punishment if any punishment happens.

“I wasn’t upset. I just didn’t want the focus to be on me and about a small — I have to say it was only a small — minority of the fans doing the chanting. I didn’t want the post-match to be about me. I just wanted everybody to focus on a great week we’d had with England. We scored 10 goals and it was a great performance over two games. I just didn’t want to speak and put any focus on me, that’s all.

“I played in Serbia about eight years ago and it happened there. So I sort of thought it would be a possibility that it might happen again (in Montenegro) and it did. So yes, it happened. I looked up straight away in the first half and I know the exact time it happened in the first half.

“But it didn’t affect my game. I’m a big boy now and I know that three points are obviously not the most important thing when you’re going through something like that, but I just wanted the team to get three points so that we could move on and get out of Montenegro as quickly as possible.”

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As for what must be done to rid the game of racism, Rose believes the game’s various governing bodies must begin to take the issue seriously, beginning with punishments befitting the crime.

“When countries only get fined what I’d probably spend on a night out in London, what do you expect? When the punishment is not as harsh, what do you expect?

“You see my Tottenham manager (Mauricio Pochettino) get banned for two games for just being confrontational against [referee] Mike Dean at Burnley. But yet a country can only get fined a little bit of money for being racist. It’s just a bit of a farce at the minute. So that’s where we are at in football and until there’s a harsh punishment there’s not must else we can expect.”

While Rose is clearly a deeply insightful individual and someone willing to meet any potential criticism head-on for speaking out about important societal issues, he was very transparent about the fact that the custodians of the game have not only failed himself and many others around the world, but also that it has him just about counting down the days until he’s ready to retire.

“I’ve had enough. At the minute, how I program myself, I just think, ‘I’ve got five or six more years left in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.’ Seeing how things are done in the game at the minute. I just want to get out of it.

“That’s how I feel. I feel I’ve got five or six more years left and I just want to enjoy football as much as I can. There is so much politics and whatever in football, and I just can’t wait to see the back of it, to be honest.”