The Borussia Dortmund star and English national team member has said racist abuse in football "has to stop." The winger spoke one day after a high-profile incident at a game involving Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku.
Jadon Sancho, a star winger for Borussia Dortmund and a member of England's national football team, said Monday that he fears the way racism is often condoned in football will make younger players lose their love of the game and hurt the sport's future.
"It just has to stop. No player wants to play football and have abuse like that," Sancho, 19, was quoted by French news agency Agence France-Presse as saying.
"It puts the confidence down in players and the love of the sport will go very soon if it doesn't stop. I think everyone should be happy and do what they are doing without receiving racist abuse."
Sancho was asked about racism in football one day after a high-profile verbal attack on Romelu Lukaku, a Belgian national forward and newly minted Inter Milan striker.
Lukaku, 26, was made to endure coordinated monkey chants from the fans of the opposing team, Cagliari, as he went to take a penalty.
Italy's Serie A has come under constant criticism for racist incidents against black players, but Germany's Bundesliga and the UK's Premier League, as well as their national teams, have also recently had to deal with accusations of racism.
In 2018, Mesut Özil quit the German national team, citing systemic racism in the structure of the German Football Association (DFB). In March, a number of England's black players were targeted with racist chants while playing a European championship qualifier in Montenegro.
'I don't think it's social media'
Sancho said he believes the problem is much deeper than groups of extremists using social media to organize. He also urged fans to remember that just because someone is a professional football player doesn't mean that fans can treat them horribly.
"I don't think it's social media. Some fans are just really passionate and obviously they just say what they want to say," Sancho said.
"I just feel they need to slow it down at bit — we're still only human. Because we play football people might think we are just famous and ignorant to that, but we just love the sport and just want to play football. It is hard to see things like this because it feels like, 'Why should we play football?'"
Sancho added that he "felt that Romelu Lukaku handled it very well by not reacting and just carrying on playing."