Wayne Rooney: Derby manager says action needs to be taken against ‘cowards’ who send abuse online

Derby manager Wayne Rooney says it is unfair for Colin Kazim-Richards, or anyone, to have to explain discrimination and online abuse to their children; Rooney calls for the Championship to encourage unity and present powerful anti-discrimination message together “as one”

Wayne Rooney has described those who send online abuse to players as “cowards” after Colin Kazim-Richards was racially abused following Derby’s draw with Nottingham Forest last week.

Derby manager Rooney says action needs to be taken against people who send abuse online and that no one should have to explain such abuse to their children.

Derby released a statement following the abuse received by Kazim-Richards, stating that it resulted in the forward “having a conversation with his young children to explain why, in this day and age, racism and discrimination still exists.”

Rooney said: “It’s sad we’re having to speak about these things. It feels like every week, every day, there’s a different person getting some form of abuse.

“It’s people who are sat at home, on their phones or computers – cowards really.

“They’d never do it face-to-face, they’re doing it and not putting their name to it, and the quicker something can be sorted out to bring the identity of these individuals out, the better.

“It’s not fair for Colin to sit at home and have to explain to his children. Not just Colin, but for everyone else who has had some form of abuse, I can only imagine how difficult that is.”

Derby assistant coach Liam Rosenior challenged the government to take action over racism and other online abuse following the targeting of Kazim-Richards last week.

Rosenior says the government must set the tone for all other institutions from the very top to affect genuine change in football and society.

‘We must act together with clear message’

Andre Wisdom, alongside Kazim-Richards, decided to stand rather than take the knee prior to Derby’s defeat at Cardiff on Tuesday.

A number of players have questioned whether the impact of taking the knee remains, with Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha saying he felt that taking the knee was “degrading”.

Rooney believes that the Championship as a whole must act in unity to deliver the message of the fight against racism.

“No one wants to see racism in football or in any other walk of life,” Rooney said. “I only noticed the last game that Andre was standing up as well.

“I think the league has to deal with it. There needs to be a message and that message needs to be as one – I don’t think it’s right that some teams are taking the knee and some teams aren’t.

“There maybe needs to be a different message which everyone sticks together with. It creates some confusion why some players take the knee and some players aren’t.

“I think it’d be a more powerful message if everyone is doing the same action, whatever that is.”

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