Roberts: I'd shake hands with Terry
Jason Roberts admits he would shake John Terry's hand, but the Reading striker raised eyebrows on Thursday by refusing to say whether he thought the Chelsea skipper was a racist.
Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches last season and Terry has recently received a four-match suspension for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, although the former England defender was cleared of a similar charge in a criminal court this summer.
Ferdinand refused to shake Terry's hand when the two met in the latest west London derby, but Roberts said he would never do such a thing. "I would, yeah," Roberts said when asked whether he would shake Terry's hand.
Roberts was one of a number of players who last week boycotted Kick It Out's annual initiative of wearing anti-racism T-shirts to highlight their efforts to rid the game of the problem. The 34-year-old, who is a Kick It Out ambassador, says the organisation, and football authorities, are simply not doing enough to clamp down on the issue.
When asked whether he thought Terry was a racist, the straight-faced Roberts replied: "I would shake his hand, definitely." When the question was asked again, the Granada-born striker again refused to answer it directly and merely repeated the words: "I would shake his hand."
Roberts confirmed on Thursday he will not wear a Kick It Out T-shirt before Reading's game against Fulham on Saturday and insists he will not join the campaign's activities until a new set of rules and sanctions have been put in place.
The former Blackburn striker said. "If it was a T-shirt from another organisation I wouldn't have worn that either. This is not an attack on Kick It Out. I am passionate about the PFA and Kick It Out but they have to do better, we have to do better."
Kick It Out was on Thursday urged to sever its funding ties with the Football Association (FA) in order to mount a more credible fight against discrimination within the game by Manchester United non-executive director Michael Edelson.
Kick It Out currently receive £110,000 each from the FA, the Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association, with the Premier League bridging a £60,000 funding gap last year.
"Kick it Out is a genuine charity," Edelson said. "They employ six people and a non-executive chairman and have done a great job. I would say the next stage for Kick It Out is to get its independence from the Football Association and get people on it who are able to lobby organisations."