Sterling and Lampard are both correct, but that’s neither the question nor the

It’s an issue that is not personal, but as the headlines yesterday prove once again, it’s certainly easier to talk about as if it were. But the issue of equal opportunity is not between Raheem Sterling and Frank Lampard. They are not the causes, nor are they principal actors and decision-makers.

“It’s about coming together and finding a solution to be able to spark change because we can talk as much as we want about changing and putting people, black people, in these positions that I do feel they should be in.

“For example, the coaching staff that you see around football clubs. I’ll give a perfect example. There’s Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, you have Sol Campbell and you have Ashley Cole.

“All had great careers, all played for England. At the same time, they’ve all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven’t been given the right opportunities are the two black former players.”

-Raheem Sterling; source: BBC via Mail

Raheem Sterling is calling attention to the long-standing issue of lack of opportunities for Black (and minority) coaches in English football (and politics, too!). Frank Lampard meanwhile is defending his own qualifications for getting such opportunities, after a career filled with accusations of favoritism and nepotism working in his favor, and after being asked to respond as if Sterling was specifically criticizing him instead of the systemic, deep-rooted racism that is in place.

“In the actual case of managers, I think Raheem got it slightly wrong from my point of view. It felt like a very casual comparison because if you compare opportunities and pathways of individual managers you can compare myself, Steven, Sol Campbell, who did an incredible job at Macclesfield and is doing a job at Southend that any of us would find very difficult to do.

“Compare Ashley Cole who finished his career with me at Derby County last year and is working his way here (at Chelsea’s academy), doing a great job and I think he is going to be successful whatever he wants to do. So I think it is very hard to make that comparison from the outside.”

“Those opportunities have to be equal for everybody, I think we all agree on that but within that then there are the details of how hard you have worked. I certainly worked from the start of my career to try and get this opportunity and there are a million things that knock you, set you back, you fight against.

-Frank Lampard; source: Telegraph

But it’s not about that, and it’s unlikely what Sterling intended either. The issue isn’t Lampard getting the Chelsea job, which came about as a perfect storm of multiple factors. Sterling’s goal as a leading voice in English football isn’t to personally deny Lampard his opportunity. It’s to ensure that all others also deserving of opportunities have the right opportunities as well.

“I want change. The change is being able to speak to people in parliament,…

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