Criticism aimed at Raheem Sterling has “an undertone of racism”, according to Ledley King, who says the Manchester City forward has been “made a scapegoat”.
Sterling is on course for his most prolific season in front of goal as Manchester City chase four trophies, but the Jamaica-born forward has also hit the headlines for non-footballing reasons this campaign.
The England international suffered alleged racist abuse during Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in December, before accusing sections of the media of fuelling racism through their portrayal of black footballers.
King hinted jealously has played a part in some of the treatment Sterling has received in recent years, insisting some of the criticism faced by the 24-year-old has racial undertones.
“People start to make judgements [when they look at footballers’ social media accounts],” the former Tottenham captain told the Football Daily YouTube channel.
“They start to think that they know people and I think with Raheem they look at a young black kid and they think he is a flash kid.
“He’s obviously earning a lot of money and I think some people don’t like that. He’s able to buy nice things, and I think when he left Liverpool it was probably the start of people feeling towards him that he only cares about the money.
“But I think if you look at Raheem, and what he has done at Man City since he has been there, he’s a player that has improved each season,
“He’s someone that probably runs more than anyone on the pitch in the team. He’s a quiet, shy kid and I think that he has been made a scapegoat over the last year or two.
“I think that has been for the reasons that I have mentioned. And of course it does have an undertone of racism.”