‘Best way to silence the haters?’: Raheem Sterling’s use of social media and selective press interviews in the fight against racism

Cable, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-2585-3419 (2021) ‘Best way to silence the haters?’: Raheem Sterling’s use of social media and selective press interviews in the fight against racism. In: Athlete Activism: Contemporary Perspectives. Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society . Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 167-180. ISBN 9780367690700

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Manchester City and England Footballer Raheem Sterling is no stranger to the media spotlight. On 28 May 2018 The Sun newspaper published a front page criticising the Manchester City and England player Raheem Sterling’s choice of getting a gun tattoo on his leg (Moyes and Diaz 2018). This, and other reports depicting aspects of Sterling’s lifestyle has led to British journalism coming under increased scrutiny for its continued negative stereotypical representation of non-white football players. Following Sterling’s experience of crowd racism at a match with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December 2018 he used his Instagram account to question press coverage using examples of two young Manchester City players buying houses, one white one black, the difference in story focus was stark (Sterling 2018). Secondly, he has consistently used fairly non-traditional media in the British sense to make his case and campaign against racism. In a New York Times interview with eminent sport journalist Rory Smith (2019) he says that the way he is covered is “one million percent” based on the colour of his skin (ibid). He’s also spoken at the Wall Street Journal (2019), appeared in Complex Magazine (Pellatt 2019), on the athlete driven Players’ Tribune (Sterling 2018) and in the Financial Times (Mance 2019). This paper utilises Sterling’s own social media postings and media interviews to explore how he as an athlete frames issues, such as racism, in a similar way to social movements (see Snow and Benford 1994, Sireau 2008), to argue that the power of alternative platforms allows athletes to confront racism, and discriminative press stereotypes (Williams and Taylor 1994). Social media and athlete self-representation also challenges the press’ communicative power by breaking and redistributing what Entman (1993) defined as the ‘imprint of power’ found in the press’ dominant framing of contentious issues.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Chapter 15
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Joe Cable
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2021 11:11
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2024 14:00
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10341

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