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No Room For Racism

Townsend: We stand together in drive for equality

22 Apr 2021

Crystal Palace winger on how players feel supported in speaking out about discrimination

Andros Townsend believes recent initiatives tackling racism and discrimination mean players no longer feel alone if they stand up and report the abuse they receive.

"A few years ago if you spoke about racism you was one voice alone," Townsend says. "Now, if you report racist abuse, the club supports you on their social media, the Premier League supports you, other players support you, the general public support you."

In January, the Premier League launched its No Room For Racism Action Plan, outlining a series of commitments aimed at creating greater access to opportunities and career progression for black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups in football, and actions to eradicate racial prejudice.

The commitments build on the existing action taken by the Premier League and clubs to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

"I definitely feel like players are a lot more comfortable now reporting racist abuse because of the support that we have around the Premier League," Townsend says.

The Crystal Palace winger is among the many players who have spoken out about racist abuse as part of the Premier League's No Room For Racism initiative.

Show of unity

Since last year, Premier League players, match officials and club staff have been showing their support for the equality campaign with a display of unity before matches.

And a conversation with a Palace team-mate has brought home to Townsend how much of an impact that action was having on the younger generation.

"He was in the garden with his son playing one-v-one and before they started, his son took the knee and he said, 'Well, that's what you guys do, isn't it?' " Townsend says. "Then you have to explain why they do it and what it was for.

"So, for us inside it, we think it's only taking a knee, it's only a badge, it's only a campaign, but, for kids, it means the world to them."

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