“I’ve got five or six more years left… I can’t wait to see the back of it.”
The words of Danny Rose as the 28-year-old revealed he has become disillusioned with football.
And who could blame him?
The Spurs left-back was racially abused by Montenegro fans during England’s 5-1 win in Podgorica in March.
Rose was subjected to monkey chants while Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered similar abuse during the game.
Seven years earlier, Rose suffered disgusting treatment while on duty for England Under-21s in Serbia.
Monkey chants, governing bodies in denial, insufficient punishment — the two incidents are depressingly similar.
It’s no wonder that Rose’s love of football has been corrupted — nothing’s changed.
Racism is football’s cancer and it has been allowed to spread when the authorities should have cut it out.
High-profile incidents involving Raheem Sterling and Moise Kean have reinforced the problem, one that football has shamefully yet to act upon with appropriate seriousness.
Rose equated the fines dished out to clubs whose fans are guilty of racism to what he would spend ‘on a night out in London’.
Frustratingly, some have interpreted this as Rose bragging about his wealth, rather than highlighting the ineffectiveness of such action through exaggeration and humour.
Compare the five-figure fines for racism to punishments for other offences and it’s clear the sport’s governing bodies need to address their authorities.
For example, Rose’s former club Leeds were fined £200,000 for failing to act ‘with the utmost good faith’ towards their Championship opponents.
It’s a sad state of affairs when a man standing on a public footpath in Derbyshire is seen as a greater crime than vicious prejudice.
Empathetic fans have sent messages of support to Rose.
He’s a young man whose greatest passion in life has become a burden because of hateful idiots and a lack of protection from those in power.
Sadly, some are ignorant to the tragedy.
Check the replies to any of the multiple reports and you’ll people excusing racism because Rose is a footballer who gets paid well.
These people are encouraging Rose to retire from football as soon as possible and criticising him for not appreciating how lucky he is to be a footballer.
The implication being that if you earn a lot of money, you should accept racism.
Needless to say, the overwhelming majority of these tweeters are white and have never once experienced racism.
Complaining about racism is ‘attention seeking’ apparently.
Rose’s occupation is irrelevant, racism is unacceptable whether the person is a millionaire footballer or a retail worker on minimum wage.
The digits in your bank account don’t account for abhorrent abuse based on the pigmentation of your skin.
And we must remember that being a professional footballer was Rose’s dream too.
He was lucky and talented enough to achieve it, before it was poisoned.
He is not being ‘ungrateful’ in the slightest.
Unfortunately, racism exists outside of football.
But the platform provided by the world’s most popular sport – one infected with toxic tribalism – has exposed Rose to the kind of abuse endured in few other professions.
We can only hope the next generation of black footballers are afforded suitable protection.
If not, more will have their dreams destroyed by ignorant racists like Rose.
And that would be an inexcusable tragedy.