Pre-World Cup, Raheem Sterling hit the tabloid headlines over a new tattoo. It was an assault rifle on his lower right leg. It had a deeper meaning than one would presume on the surface said Sterling. It was connected to his father being gunned down and a personal promise that he would never touch a gun in his life.
That was not the first time the England international was targetted by sections of the England media - The Sun and Daily Mail in particular.
"How many people do you see get the criticism Sterling gets?" Ian Wright asked on BBC 5 Live on Monday night.
The former Arsenal striker believes there is a media agenda against the Manchester City forward.
The football criticism is something every player has to deal with, but what he gets I don’t see any other footballer getting.
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.
Sterling was born in Jamaica but moved to England as a child. Wright said that behind the agenda is a racist element.
"When you look at the wave of criticism that he takes, it's tinged... there is a certain amount of racism towards it — what else can it be?
"They are picking on him because of the background he has come from and they literally want to keep him down. Whatever he does, however high he reaches, they want to drag that back down. It's almost like they don’t want him to continue to be a success.
"When he's at Manchester City, he's comfortable, he's happy; when he's with England, he's out there for everybody to knock and have a go at.
"There's an element of people at the high end of media that want to keep that guy down."
🗣"They want to keep him down, however high he reaches. They don't want him to continue to be a success"
Powerful stuff from @IanWright0, who says some criticism of Raheem @Sterling7 in the media is 'tinged with racism'. pic.twitter.com/GMQ3zfMEDm
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) August 13, 2018
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