Micah Richards hits back at claims he’s ‘only on TV because of Black Lives Matter’

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Micah Richards has made a big impact in a short amount of time in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports.

The ex-Manchester City and Aston Villa right-back appeared on Sky’s football coverage on an increasingly regular basis towards the end of last season.

And he was hailed as a breath of fresh air by many viewers thanks to his engaging personality.

Aside from knowing his stuff - a prerequisite for any pundit - Richards has also brought some much-needed enthusiasm and humour to live broadcasts.

Every other pundit appears to enjoy working alongside the former England international - and that even includes Roy Keane, who has struck up an unlikely bromance with the retired defender.

However, there are some people who believe that Richards wouldn’t be on Sky Sports right now if it wasn’t for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

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Richards and fellow pundit Alex Scott have, unfortunately, both received many messages from trolls in recent months.

Following the Premier League clash between Wolves and Man City, Richards spoke passionately on Monday Night Football in response to those who claim he wouldn’t be on TV if it wasn’t for the BLM movement.

"Yes, [I feel the perception of me has changed through the Black Lives Matter movement]. I've got people on Twitter, I've got people on Instagram saying: 'Micah Richards is only on because of this Black Lives Matter movement’,” he said.

"But I've had conversations with corporations that I worked for way before this and now I'm getting tarnished with the same brush that I'm 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. I've been a professional footballer, I've won a Premier League title, I've played at the highest level and I'm still getting stones thrown at me.

"If I've got 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."

On his colleague Alex Scott, Richards continued: "Alex Scott is incredible. She's one of the best I've ever worked with and 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. She is honestly one of the best pundits I have ever worked with and all you see on social media is: 'Why is a woman working in men's football? She doesn't know.'

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

"But, at the same time, it just shows we've still got a problem and it's that awkward conversation we all don't want to have but we've got to have the conversation."

This message of support was appreciated by Scott, who tweeted: "My G... nothing but love and respect. Thank you @MicahRichards."

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Richards also spoke about the issue of footballers taking the knee after the effectiveness of the gesture was questioned by QPR director of football Les Ferdinand.

"[Les Ferdinand] has had a very strong opinion. I've heard him talk about racial issues before and he speaks very well,” Richards added.

"But, it's difficult. He's got his opinion, and I respect his opinion, but at the same time the Premier League is one of the biggest leagues in the world.

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"To some people, who don't understand, even if you've got the players beforehand going down on the knee, people are going to start to ask questions and yes, we all want more action. Of course, we want more action, we want equality but it's not going to happen overnight.

"When he says he wants more action, I'm totally with him but this is something that's been happening for hundreds of years and it's not going to change overnight.

"It is getting better. There have been so many people who have come out, not just black people, white people as well and talked about issues that maybe a couple of years ago they'd feel uncomfortable talking about.

"So, yes, I agree it needs more action, but at the same time, even if kneeling helps one person or changes just one person's mind, I still think it's the right thing to do."

And on his long the movement continues, Richards said: "It's the magic question. How long do you want to take the knee for?

"But for me, you've got to do it until everyone agrees. You know what the problem is? Sometimes it feels like it's been forced on people and it's almost turning people the other way.

"White people now feel like they are getting tarnished with the racist brush and that's not fair.

"You read your Instagram, you read your Twitter and the first thing is: 'Why am I getting tarnished with that brush.’

"So, you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't. Everyone has got their own opinions on how things can change but for me, we all need to just work together. We all need to understand there is a problem, not just at the lower level, at the top level and if a black person or an ethnic minority wants a chance, they've got to put themselves forward.

"I'm here, working for Sky Sports. One of the biggest corporations in the world and I'm here because I believed in myself. I love football, I love working with Jamie Carragher and I'm in a privileged position and I did this through hard work, and the hard work I put in is not going to be tarnished."

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