Long Eaton United youth teams Show Racism the Red Card, by promoting our anti-racist message through grassroots football with specially designed kits replacing the usual number on the back of their shirts.
Long Eaton United has demonstrated a history of anti-racist activity over a number of years. Coach Nick Rippon-Smith, spoke to us and described his role beyond football and the responsibility to act as a teacher and promote such values as much as he can; but he also spoke of the actions emanating from the young people’s own enthusiasm themselves.
Inspired by players taking the knee and the urge to display solidarity with the racist abuse witnessed after the Euro’s finals directed towards England’s Black players; the team decided to take the knee before one of their games on their own accord to the emotional astonishment of the coach.
One of the young players described why they took the knee:
“We wanted to take the knee as we wanted to show our support to the players that were receiving the nasty abuse. We were talking and one of our players said shall we do it, we all said yes and we all went on the pitch to do it. I feel it’s important to promote the anti-racism message because racism needs to stop. It’s not very nice and we should all be more kind to each other. “
Nick is now coaching another team and both will wear the new anti-racist kits for all of their away games going forward. On why he chose Show Racism the Red Card, he told us that it sent a clear and simple message that was easy to explain to children. In the time that they have worn the shirts they have already seen a mostly positive reaction to its message and feel it is having an impact.
Nick spoke to us of his passion in carrying the anti-racism message throughout grassroots football and is also a member of Derbyshire FA’s Strategic Inclusion Advisory Group. He was recently awarded the ‘Positive Football Environment Award’ by the Grassroots Football Awards ’23.