Aberdeen defender Shaleum Logan today admitted he has experienced racism in Scottish football and insists it will not go away.
The 30-year-old opened up and talked candidly about his own experiences of racism and how he believes it is not taught but is a choice – and people must suffer the repercussions for it.
Racism has blighted Scottish football in recent weeks with footage emerging of an Aberdeen “fan” shouting vile abuse at Celtic’s Scott Sinclair in the Betfred Cup final.
Hearts have given lifetime bans to two fans arrested after Motherwell star Christian Mbulu was allegedly racially abused at Tynecastle.
Manchester City’s England international Raheem Sterling was subjected to racist abuse by Chelsea supporters at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
For Logan, race or skin colour is simply not an issue he ever contemplates and he has taken a stand against those who use that to spout hatred.
He also opened up on the incident in 2014 when Celtic’s on-loan Aleksandar Tonev was punished by a seven-match ban for racially abusing the defender.
You came out in support of Celtic’s Scott Sinclair after he was the subject of racist abuse by an Aberdeen fan in the cup final. Is racism getting worse in football?
It is not getting worse, I just feel more things have been highlighted. It is never going to go.
People say racism is taught.
At a certain age it is taught.
If you are three, four, five, six, seven, eight and you come out with something that you have obviously heard around the home and people you are around, I get that.
That stuff with (Raheem) Sterling and Scotty Sinclair, the stuff with me. You are not taught that.
That one who did that against Sterling. He has chosen to say those things, to try to say the most hateful and hurtful things to somebody.
The person in the Scott Sinclair video.
That guy is taking a penalty against Aberdeen and he doesn’t want him to score against his team.
But why would you ever bring up somebody’s race? I have arguments with loads of people and it doesn’t once cross my mind to bring in what colour I am looking at. Because when I am looking at someone I am looking at a human being.
It doesn’t matter what colour they are. So to say something like that, it is your choice.
When you are an adult and you get past 16 to 18 anything you then come out with or your actions, it’s all down to choice from you.
Anything that comes out of your mouth no one can make you say that, unless you choose to say it.
It is never going to be gone.
I’m not going to say it might be the next game or the next game but there will be a time in a game when somebody feels they want to choose to say something like that.
For me you can stand and say it in my face, it doesn’t bother me.
I just highlight it because I just want people to know that people like that are still out there.
Whether it is an Aberdeen fan saying it against a Celtic player, Rangers player, Hibs player or Dundee player. It is irrelevant who is saying it because I will never be on their side whether they are an Aberdeen fan or not.
In this day, it is 2018 and I just think it is despicable.
You have to choose your words correctly.
If you want to say it, say it – but you will be judged on it.
This guy who did it against Sterling had a nice job but he chose to say a word against a player who is playing against his football team.
Now he has lost it. Is it really worth it? No.
Is it a sad indictment that people more or less expect it?
No. It is not just in football, you get it in all forms of life. Football is a job. You are going to get it in a factory, get it in a swimming pool, a library.
Racism happens all over and it is a choice. It is sad that it is still going on nowadays but poverty and unemployment are happening now. Things can be done to help prevent it (racism) and try to make it better but it is always going to be there.
Bullying, poverty, racism you will never get a world when that isn’t there.
For me personally I bring up my kiddies and I want them to respect everybody.
I always say, show respect to anybody who shows you respect.
And if they don’t show respect walk away from them.
You don’t have to be around people like that. If everyone had that idea, I don’t think everyone does, then it would be a better place. That sort of thing might not happen so much, but I guarantee it will happen again.
Do you hear racist comments shouted at you?
Yes, loads of times.
Even now people say about the Tonev thing, there was no proof. But there was proof.
They didn’t see the video recordings of the game in the room that we were all in. So they don’t know what has gone on.
I would never try to say anyone did anything to me racist to ruin anyone’s career.
I am not that person.
So when I go and get a ball and people are shouting at me I don’t report it. It is irrelevant to me.
You can say whatever you like about me, I’m playing a game of football and you are trying to hurt me.
We are probably winning the game and that is why you are upset.
Because if your team are winning you are not going to say anything.
It is only when the chips are down, you are frustrated, that those sort of things come out. Loads of times people have said things.
And you know what? It hasn’t been the bigger games and it seems to be against the same sort of teams.
I don’t ever bring it up.
You can say it to my face and I walk away. It doesn’t bother me.
That is what I put up with – it is water off a duck’s back.
I am black, I get that.
My kiddies are black. I have a white mum, my dad’s black.
I have a white nan, I have a white brother.
It doesn’t matter to me what colour you are.
I love all sorts of people and I show anybody respect who shows me respect.
Tonev did not show me respect so I showed him no respect in terms of I reported that. Because he is a professional footballer and at the time there were four or five black people on his team.
So you have just said that to me.
It was a lack of respect.
It is what it is, you don’t cry about spilt milk and that stuff is in the past.
I am sure there will be, maybe not towards me, but there will be racism in the game.
You just have to deal with it.
I think there are bigger issues as well such as the situation with Leigh Griffiths who is struggling with depression or habits.
He needs help.
Someone shouting things at me, I am of the mindset that it is not affecting my life or my career.
Leigh is in a position where the stuff is affecting his life so the focus needs to go on that.
Things where people feel in a position where they are really struggling with life.
With just getting out of bed.
People see him driving a flash car, playing football for a big club but they don’t see behind it when he is at home.
When in his head he is thinking all these things.
They are the sort of people who need help and I hope he can get all the help he needs.