Collymore: I'm proud of Sancho, a talent using his skills and his platform


Jadon Sancho can be very proud of his actions over the weekend — and certainly I was very proud of him.

I’m not normally a fan of politics crossing into sport but the tragic story of George Floyd has highlighted, yet again, that for many racism is still quite literally a struggle between life and death.

The fact this has gone transatlantic now shows the depth of feeling over how abhorrent racism is.

And for Sancho to reveal a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ T-shirt over the weekend after scoring his first goal for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn is yet more proof he not only has talent in abundance, but character too.

Sancho after scoring his side’s first goal

I interviewed him at St George’s Park towards the end of last year and we spoke about his decision to quit Manchester City and head for Germany.

The thing that impressed me the most was the fact he wanted to take on challenges and that he was aware of the world around him.

The situation in America was obviously something that was weighing heavily on his mind before the game but, even so, it would have been easy to forget about it for 90-odd minutes.

All eyes are on the Bundesliga at the moment and it would have been easy to think, ‘Let’s just keep our heads down and get the games done’.

So it says a lot about the kid — and a lot about his generation — that he and so many of others are savvy enough and willing enough to put their name to their beliefs in public.

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Sancho is willing to use his platform

When I was playing, you’d have people saying, ‘Oh, that’s really bad’, behind closed doors.

But when a camera was thrust in their face it’d be all, ‘Yes, great game… game of two halves… I couldn’t have done it without my team-mates’.

I know Robbie Fowler showed his support for Liverpool’s dockers and Sasa Curcic protested Nato’s bombing of Sarajevo, but examples of players really standing up on serious matters were few and far between.

Sancho wasn’t just using his platform to dig out a politician, he used it to further highlight a societal issue and I’m so impressed that he did.

Robbie Fowler shows his support for the dockers’ strikes in 1997

Marcus Thuram, son of France legend Lillian, also took a stance

Just like I was impressed when Raheem Sterling spoke out about being subjected to racism at Stamford Bridge, because without these guys — working-class footballers — there aren’t a lot of other people sticking up for such as George Floyd at the minute.

I know there are a lot of people protesting in the US and around the globe, and that is very welcome.

But we need high-profile black voices who are willing to come out and say, ‘This isn’t happening anymore’.

And the fact Sancho and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram – who took a knee in his side’s victory over Union Berlin – lent their powerful voices is great to see.

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Whether we like it or not, there are some football fans who are to the right or even far right of the political spectrum.

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And more than any politician, Sancho, Thuram and Sterling might just have a chance of changing the mind of 16 or 17-year-old kid who might otherwise be thinking, ‘Ah, another black dude dead, who gives a damn?’

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