Racism in football needs to be discussed - Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts
Roberts had played for nine different clubs over a 16-year career

Blackburn striker Jason Roberts has urged continued discussion in football over racism within the game.

The 33-year-old has previously spoken about how he was racially abused whilst playing, but failed to report it, a decision he later regretted.

"Talking about it is how we're going to move on," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

"It's something that has affected me through my whole career and my uncles during their career."

Roberts had three uncles who played football professionally including former England and West Brom striker Cyrille Regis, as well as Dave Regis and Otis Roberts.

He added: "They'll tell you stories about bullets through the post, chants, monkey noises and bananas being thrown at them."

The issue of racism in football has become more prevalent in football this season after a number of high profile incidents.

England captain John Terry has been charged with using racist language towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, Luis Suarez is serving an eight-match ban for remarks made to Patrice Evra and Merseyside police are investigating remarks made to Oldham midfielder Tom Adeyemi in the FA Cup match against Liverpool.

Roberts has been a campaigner for the anti-racism group Kick It Outexternal-link and has also received an MBE in 2010 for his services to sport in Grenada.

With Chris Hughton and Chris Powell the only black managers working in the four main English divisions the forward has previously spoken about securing his coaching qualifications to go into management.

He is a big supporter of the 'Rooney Rule', which stipulates that at least one black or ethnic minority candidate must be interviewed for every head coaching and senior football operation role that becomes available.

"I think a lot of good work has been done and a lot of people have recognised that there was an issue and we've moved forward with it, but that doesn't mean that it's gone," he added.

"It's very rare to hear racist songs now and it's not deemed acceptable for someone to shout something racism to you from the crowd.

"But I think there is more steps to be made and hopefully this generation will be the ones to do that."

Jason Roberts is 'In the Spotlight' on BBC Radio Manchester on Thursday, 19 January at 1800GMT. He talks about life in Manchester, receiving his MBE and his life and career in football. If you miss the show you can listen again via the iPlayer or download the podcast.