Reading FC's Roberts ready to shake hands with TerryBy Jonny Fordham
October 26, 2012
Jason Roberts is ready to shake John Terry’s hand – despite his insistence that the Chelsea skipper was treated too leniently after being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Terry was cleared in court but later found guilty by a Football Association commission and banned for four games and fined £220,000.
Roberts highlighted his feelings towards the lack of action in the fight against racism last Saturday by refusing to wear a ‘Kick It Out’ T-shirt in the warm-up before Reading’s 1-0 defeat at Liverpool.
And yesterday he confirmed that he would not wear the T-shirt again.
The 34-year-old striker believes the FA let Terry off lightly for using the words “f****** black ****” in a game between QPR and Chelsea last year.
Reading are due to play Chelsea at Madejski Stadium on January 29 and Roberts said: “I would shake his (Terry’s) hand, definitely.”
However, when pressed as to whether he thought 31-year-old Terry was a racist, Roberts simply repeated his previous answer.
Roberts believes that the footballing community can make greater steps together in their battle to eradicate discrimination from the sport – and he feels that the FA’s latest six-point plan is a ‘step in the right direction’.
He said: “The divisions can be healed. Last year was a watershed and a lot of people started looking at racism issues again and didn’t like what they saw. I think now is an opportunity to move forward together.
“Sometimes you can’t legislate for what people do, but you can legislate for systems to make sure there is truer equality all through the game. We need to act, not just listen and talk.”
Roberts has had the full backing of his team-mates and manager over his stance.
Brian McDermott said that even though preparations for his side’s home game against Fulham tomorrow (3pm kick-off) have been dominated by off-field issues, Roberts is fully ready for action.
Royals’ boss said: “I think it’s brought the issue to a lot of people’s attention.
“You put the T-shirt on once a year, badges on once a year, then you do it the following year and the year after.
“This has brought a lot of good attention and things are starting to be done. He did a couple of articles and spoke about this.
“He’s worked with Kick It Out and we sat down and spoke about it.
“We had a chat on Tuesday and he told me he was ready when I needed him, and he hadn’t taken his eye off the ball as far as football is concerned.”