Ryan Giggs: Wales boss regrets how he handled being a victim of racism

Ryan Giggs gives instructions to his team
Ryan Giggs succeeded Chris Coleman as Wales manager

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has expressed his regret over the way he handled being a victim of racism in his formative years.

Giggs, whose father is black, says he was "shocked" at what he faced after going to secondary education.

He admits he was "the kind of person who kept it in, who didn't really speak to people about it".

"If I could go back in time I would talk a lot more to people about it," Giggs told Give Racism the Red Card.

"Whether it be my parents or whether it be teachers at school or my mates.

"So I came through it, but it was probably not the ideal way to come through it, to keep it in and just get through it, really."

Giggs' rugby star father

Ryan Giggs' father Danny Wilson pictured in 2004
Ryan Giggs' father Danny Wilson played union for Cardiff and Newport before his rugby league career, which included Widnes and Swinton

Giggs was born in Cardiff and moved to the North West as a child when his father Danny Wilson left rugby union for rugby league.

"My dad's black. He was a rugby player, he was quite famous in the area where I grew up so everyone knew who my dad was even though to look at me, you wouldn't think that I was mixed race, people knew that I was because of my dad," said Giggs.

"So I came across it [racism] quite a bit when I was younger, which wasn't nice, obviously.

"It was something that was strange to me when I first went to secondary school.

"It was a shock. I was the kind of person who kept it in, who didn't really speak to people about it and I thought I could handle it that way.

"But obviously that's not the way forward. I did handle it okay, but some people might not be able to."

Giggs' guidance

Giggs would advise anyone who finds themselves the victim of racism to "tell people".

The former Manchester United and Wales star said: "It's something that you should share, because you will feel a lot better afterwards and it would help you come through it a lot quicker.

"It'll be a weight off your shoulders. You won't get the feeling that 'I'm different' or people are looking at you differently or treating you differently.

"You will quickly get the advice or get the feedback that you're not different, you're just like everyone else."

'Heroes' can help fight racism

The 2012 Great Britain football Olympian says players have the public platform to make a difference.

"Footballers can have a positive effect on racism because for the average person or child growing up, they think that we've gone through life and everything's been great and there you are on a football pitch, there you are playing for a Premier League team, playing for Manchester United.

"But actually that's not the case; we encountered the same things that you have.

"So where professional footballers have got that stage, they can help younger people because Premier League players and football players are heroes; the people that young people look up to."

Racism on the wane?

Giggs believes there is less racism than 20 to 30 years ago, but "it's still something that needs to be addressed constantly".

He added: "If one of my players encountered it, you have to go through the proper channels in addressing it, making sure that the person who did it is punished, but also helping the player who has suffered from racism, help him through it.

"And whether that be an everyday person walking on the street or a professional footballer, racism has no place in everyday life."

Giggs says the anti-racism educational charity Show Racism the Red Card has helped make things "so much better than they were 20, 25, 30 years ago".

"But it's a case of not standing still. It's a case of continuing that work because it is still there," he said.

"It's not as big as it used to be, but it is still there and we need to work to make sure there is no racism at all.

"And to do that you just need to constantly work on it and educate people and not stand still and not think we've achieved our goal."

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