Raheem Sterling criticism is partly down to racism, says Ian Wright
"They are picking on him because of the background he has come from and they want to keep him down, drag him back down."
Last Updated: 13/08/18 10:11pm
Raheem Sterling received criticism for getting a tattoo of a rifle on his leg
Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling receives criticism motivated by racism, says Ian Wright.
Sterling celebrated his goal against Arsenal on Sunday with a gesture he later revealed was aimed at silencing his critics following his lack of goals for England at the World Cup. The 23-year-old also faced negative media attention prior to the tournament for getting a tattoo of a rifle on his leg.
"How many people do you see get the criticism Sterling gets?" Wright said.
"The football criticism is something every player has to deal with, but what he gets I don't see any other footballer getting," Wright added on BBC Radio 5 live.
"They don't get that stick because for whatever reason they don't rub up the people in the corridors of power the wrong way. I think there is an agenda against him.
"There is an element of people at the high end of the media who want to keep that guy down. Simple.
"When you look at the wave of criticism that he takes, there is a certain amount of racism towards it - what else can it be?
Sterling said his goal celebration against Arsenal was about silencing critics
"They are picking on him because of the background he has come from and they want to keep him down, drag him back down. They don't want him to continue to be a success.
"People say you are playing the racism card, but you give me a good reason why Raheem Sterling gets the stick he gets for just being a footballer."
Sterling: Criticism is unbelievable
Writing in The Player's Tribune in July, Sterling said some sections of the media "want to steal your joy".
He said: "There's a perception in certain parts of the media that I love 'bling.' I love diamonds. I love to show off. I really don't understand where that comes from.
"Especially when I bought my mum a house, it was unbelievable what some people were writing. I think it's really sad that people do that. They hate what they don't even know.