Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams said that he does not understand how racism can still exist in the 21st century, stressing that it is a "scourge that we have to eradicate."
"Unfortunately, I've experienced racism while playing. It's unpleasant and humiliating. I don't understand how it can continue to happen in the 21st century. But the fact that it happens to me, someone who's quite visible, means that the message gets out there. That LaLiga has taken the lead in the situation I think is a very important step. It's a scourge that we have to eradicate," Williams said, as quoted by LaLiga.
Recently, Premier League clubs Manchester United and Arsenal launched campaigns to fight against racism. Manchester United on Friday launched a new campaign, SEE RED, which aims to "confront the scourge of racism and discrimination in the game" while Arsenal last week announced a campaign named #StopOnlineAbuse.
Williams also called for "harsh penalties" for the defaulters. "I know that players in England have experienced similar things, and I'm sure they've felt the same way as I have. Sport, and football, stands for other values, which are totally opposite to this. I think we need harsh penalties and to set an example, to put people off repeating it," he said.
Athletic Bilbao is currently 10th on the LaLiga table with 35 points from 28 games. Williams said wearing the club's badge on "our chest gives us all an enormous sense of pride."
"At the end of the day, it's about going into battle every match with your friends, they're more than just teammates after all these years together. This is a family. The sense of belonging we have at this club, not just the players but everyone involved, means that everything we do is out of love for the club. It's something they instill in you from a young age. Wearing the Athletic Club badge on our chest gives us all an enormous sense of pride. It's what drives us to be better every day," he said.
"We know it's difficult to compete with the best every day. But to be able to compete with the very best while staying true to our philosophy is what makes us different, and proud to be part of the club. Ever since I've been in the first team, if the coach tells us to run through a brick wall, we do it. Marcelino, our coach, has been really impressed by how united we are, we're a family. We know what he wants from us and that he wants to help us, beyond individual tactics that might suit us more or less. If he told us to run through a brick wall, all 25 of us in the squad would do it. In that sense, Athletic Club is different to other clubs," Williams added.
( With inputs from ANI )
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