Richarlison banana incident shows 'we haven't moved forward' on racism, says Heskey
Richarlison appeared to be the victim of racism on Tuesday when a banana was thrown at him while playing for Brazil.FotMob - 2 months ago
Former Liverpool and England striker Emile Heskey has questioned whether football is ever going to "move forward" in dealing with racism.
After scoring for Brazil in a 5-1 win over Tunisia at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Tuesday, Tottenham forward Richarlison had a banana thrown on the pitch in front of him from the stands.
The player expressed outrage after the game and called for stiff punishments to be imposed, though appeared to doubt strong action would be taken.
Spurs team-mate Harry Kane and former England captain Rio Ferdinand offered their support, while Richarlison's club boss Antonio Conte said on Thursday there must be heavy sanctions, saying: "For sure I hope these people are banned from football for the rest of their lives."
In an interview with Stats Perform, Heskey was also not sure any punishment handed out would be enough, and raised wider concerns about how racism is dealt with by the football authorities.
"It's a tough one for me to really discuss because we still haven't moved forward," he said. "And are we going to move forward? That's the question I keep asking, are we going to move forward?
"We keep asking for certain things. We keep saying that we're getting better, and we've moved on. We're not going anywhere to be honest with you.
"They might get fined £5,000. Then I'll go and do something with betting and I'll get fined £100,000.
"The thing is priorities... It's not [treated as] a priority."
Heskey – who is the seventh top scorer in Premier League history with 516 goals – did concede that some progress is being made as racism is at least discussed more openly now compared to previous years, but does not feel enough is actively being done to deal with it.
"It's sad because I've got kids playing... they could still be going through what their grandparents went through and that's 50 years apart," he added.
"Are we getting anywhere? We are because we are discussing it. When my grandparents were going through it, we weren't discussing it. Now we're discussing it, which is great.
"But we've got no action. No call to action. Nothing."