Micah Richards hits back at claims he's 'on air because of BLM'

‘I work every single day at my craft and I’m still getting stones thrown at me’: Micah Richards hits back at claims he’s ‘only on air because of Black Lives Matter’, while launching an impassioned defence of ‘incredible’ Alex Scott

  • Micah Richards has developed into one of the best football pundits on television
  • However, the ex-Man City man says he is still criticised online due to his colour 
  • Richards has been a huge advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Sportsmail’s new columnist also praised the work of fellow pundit Alex Scott
  • Scott has faced abuse after rumours linking her with hosting A Question of Sport

Micah Richards has blasted social media users who claim he was only hired as a pundit by Sky Sports as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Former Manchester City defender and new Sportsmail columnist Richards has developed into one of Sky’s most used and highly-respected analysts in recent months. 

While his comments on both football and the BLM movement have been heavily praised, Richards said on Monday night that he believes he is unfairly targeted online, as is fellow pundit Alex Scott. 

Micah Richards has described the messages he receives on social media about his punditry

Richards also praised fellow pundit Alex Scott, who has been a victim of abuse online

‘If a black person, a black or ethnic minority wants a chance they’ve got to put themselves forward,’ Richards began, speaking on Monday Night Football following City’s victory against Wolves.

‘I’m here working for Sky Sports, one of the biggest networks, corporations in the world. I’m here because I believed in myself. I love working with Jamie (Carragher), I love working with yourself (David Jones) and I’m in a privileged position. I did this through hard work. The hard work is not going to be tarnished.

‘I’ve got people on Twitter, I’ve got people people on Instagram: “Oh. Micah Richards is only on air because of this whole Black Lives Matter movement.”

‘But I’ve had conversations with corporations that I work for way before this and now I’m getting tarnished with the same brush “oh he’s only on TV because of Black Lives Matter.” 

‘Which is disheartening for me because I put in the work, I work every single day at my craft. 

Richards (left, with James Milner) won the Premier League title with Manchester City in 2012

‘I’ve been a professional footballer, I’ve won a Premier League. I’ve played at the highest level and I’m still getting stones thrown at me. If I have to fly the flag, if people want to throw stones at me, I’ll happily take it because I know I put in the work.’ 

Richards also leapt to the defence of former England international Scott, who has herself been a victim of social media abuse in recent months. 

Scott, the ex-Arsenal footballer and TV presenter aged 35, has been at the centre of much discussion – and relentless online trolling – amid rumours she’s set to become the new host of BBC’s A Question Of Sport, replacing Sue Barker, who was axed after 24 years. 

‘She’s absolutely incredible, one of the best I’ve ever worked with,’ Richards stated.

‘It’s even worse for her because she’s a woman and she’s seen as black as well. It’s double jeopardy. She’s in a worse position. 

Scott is also a pundit for Sky Sports and was praised by Richards for her work on Monday night

‘She’s honestly one of the best pundits I’ve ever worked with and all you see on Twitter and Instagram: “what is a woman doing working in men’s football, she doesn’t know.” 

‘She’s played how many times for England, she knows football inside out, more than most people and to see the abuse that she gets just because someone has left their job or not had their contract renewed, it’s disheartening to see. 

‘But at the same time it shows that we’ve still got a problem. It’s that awkward conversation that we don’t want to have but we’ve got to have that conversation.’

The death of George Floyd, who had the knee of a white policeman in the US this summer pressed into his neck, triggered protests around the world and those demonstrations reached many sports – with the Premier League featuring Black Lives Matter on shirts instead of player names in June. 

Players also took the knee before kick-off post-lockdown last season – a gesture which has been retained at the start of this campaign. 

PL players have been taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement recently

QPR director of football Les Ferdinand believes the message of taking the knee has been lost

Yet on Monday, Les Ferdinand defended QPR’s decision not to take the knee ahead of their match against Coventry, claiming the gesture’s ‘message has been lost’ and is now akin to a ‘a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge’. 

In a powerful statement, QPR director of football Ferdinand insisted ‘taking the knee will not bring about change in the game — actions will’ and added the gesture ‘has reached a point of ‘good PR’ but little more than that’. 

‘Taking the knee was very powerful but we feel that impact has now been diluted,’ Ferdinand said. 

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