Premiership goalkeeper Jack Butland returns to the classroom to help ‘Kick it Out.’
England Under-21s and Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland visited Stoke-on-Trent College on March 17th in his role as one of Kick It Out’s ‘Next 20’ ambassadors.
Jack, who featured for Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics, joined former footballer Paul Mortimer, who is now Kick It Out’s Professional Players Engagement Manager, for an anti-discrimination workshop to the students of Stoke-on-Trent College.
The workshop focused on a variety of discussion points around the subjects of racism and discrimination. Students got the opportunity to ask questions and consider their own thoughts on the topics raised during the session.
The topics of race, gender, and sexuality were debated in an engaging session which saw the students challenged on a number of stereotypes. The learners also took the opportunity to pose questions about Jack and Paul’s thoughts on the women’s game and whether football’s governing bodies were doing enough to eradicate discrimination from the game.
During the workshop, Jack took part in a question and answer session with the students where they quizzed him on his footballing career.
Jack said: “Yes, I’ve been part of a team that’s had to deal with it and I remember the expressions on the players’ faces and how they had to deal with it.
“It hurts you as well at the time. To be racially abused is just not acceptable.
“Thankfully, it’s small minorities, but we have to keep working to make sure it doesn’t happen in future.
“We need clubs, and people in positions of power, to spread the word.”
Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation. Founded in 1993, the organisation works throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change, the organisation is funded by The Football Association (FA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Premier League and the Football League.
The ‘Next 20’ initiative, launched in October 2013 to commemorate the organisation’s 20 year anniversary, aims to champion 20 young footballers across the Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League (WSL), also features stars such as Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Manchester City Ladies striker Toni Duggan and Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson, who is currently on loan at West Ham United.
Speaking afterward the event Jack said: “I think the event went well. It is apparent that some of these topics are uncomfortable to talk about, because the students are not always sure what is acceptable or right but that is what coming here was all about.
“I think it was a success because the students have gone away with a better knowledge of what is acceptable and hopefully if that message spreads, then we have done a good job here.”