Nigel Reo-Coker believes the current direct action taken by Black Lives Matter protesters is a ‘turning’ point in the fight against racism and oppression. The former Aston Villa midfielder spoke out after Tyrone Mings participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Birmingham city centre, organised as a part of a global response following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota. Former Villa striker Darren Bent also spoke out against systemic racism earlier today – while Reo-Coker hopes that action will continue – instead of ‘lip service’.
Nigel Reo-Coker said “This is really going to be a turning point and it will be more than just lip service, We’ve had a few similar incidents about racism and equality that’s happened previously and I kind of felt it’s been lip service. You’re seeing now that there’s been protesting in pretty much all the states in America. There’s been protesting around the world. I think this video (George Floyd) has really been the eye-opener for people because it was so graphic. You don’t want it to be just ‘oh let’s put up a Black Lives matter Instagram post’ or something along those lines. I think playing in football like Darren [Bent] and I did in dressing rooms and you being in mixed dressing rooms, you’d want some of your white players to actually talk more to their black players and understand the experiences and try to understand where they’re coming from and what it’s like. Don’t talk for them but try to understand them and see what you could do better or what you could educate your younger kids to do better, to understand the struggles that young black men have to face.”