(CNN)Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling has been honored for his role in the fight against racism in football at an awards ceremony in London.
He was presented with the Integrity and Impact Award — founded by Dow Jones Sports Intelligence — by his international manager Gareth Southgate at the BT Sport Industry Awards on Thursday.The recognition comes during a year in which the winger has become a central figure in highlighting and challenging the racial abuse and lack of diversity prevalent in the sport.Sterling becomes the second recipient of the award, following Rachel Denhollander in 2018. She was the first survivor to speak out against disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.Only on Monday, Sterling fronted a campaign led by UK newspaper The Times, calling for the footballing authorities to change the way in which it tackles racism, as well as demanding stronger sanctions for those found guilty of the abuse.Read MoreIn his own article as part of the launch of the action plan, Sterling wrote: “I don’t want the next generation to suffer like me.”Sterling and his England teammates suffered racial abuse from Montenegro fans during his side’s 5-1 win.READ: ‘I didn’t mean to be a leader:’ How Raheem Sterling took on racistsREAD: ‘Enough is enough’: Footballers boycott social media in protest at racist abuseThe manifesto set out by the publication — and backed by a range of fellow professional players — follows a season in which multiple players in the English game have faced racial abuse, both in domestic and international matches.After being targeted along with England teammates Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi during a 5-1 win against Montenegro, Sterling stated in a post-match interview: “It’s 2019 now … we can only bring awareness and light to the situation.” Sterling had cupped his ears to the offending supporters after scoring England’s fifth goal in order to highlight the situation.His position as an unofficial spokesperson in the fight started with an Instagram post in December, just 24 hours Sterling had allegedly been racially abused by Chelsea fans during Manchester City’s defeat at Stamford Bridge.He posted two articles from the MailOnline — one covering a young white player, the other a young black player — arguing they highlighted the role the media plays in perpetuating racial prejudices in society. View this post on Instagram
Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.
On publicizing his thoughts, Sterling said: “I didn’t mean to be a leader. I don’t think I’m a leader. It’s just something I thought to myself that I’d been seeing for a while and I thought it was sad and I just wanted to bring awareness.”Earlier in April, a plethora of professional players in England and Wales staged a 24-hour boycott of social media platforms in protest against the lack of action taken by social media platforms in response to racial abuse.The appeal, which has been backed by a range of stars, including Sterling’s teammate Kevin de Bruyne and ex-Arsenal Women captain Alex Scott, is based around the strapline “Enough.”