Norwich City academy player and under-23s captain Jon Tomkinson pens his thoughts on Black History Month and the importance of tackling racism in society.
I started playing football back when I was three years old and since then I haven’t looked back. I have played in America pretty much all my life, but my dream has always been to play in the Premier League and, after a few trials, Norwich is where I landed and now I am just chasing that dream day by day.
I think the way that equality and diversity is promoted here at Norwich is fantastic. We are a very diverse team and we have got people from all over the world, from all different races and ethnicities, and we celebrate that. No matter where you are from you are always going to be given an equal opportunity here and that is great to see.
To be fair in my football career, I haven’t experienced any type of racism, but in other aspects of my life I have. It is just in how people behave to you, their manners, and the way that they treat you. I remember one time, when I was a bit younger, I was with my friends and we were stopped and the way I was treated, in comparison to my white friends, was different and I found that disturbing.
I do think more needs to be done to solve the problem of racism, not just in football, but society as a whole. I think education is the key, because that lack of understanding is where the problem comes from. Racism is about ignorance and if we can solve that and educate people from a young age then, hopefully, we will be able to stop it.
In terms of people I look up to within football for their stance on racism, I think Anton Ferdinand set a great example. He was a victim in one of the most controversial incidents of alleged racial abuse in English football. He was at the very top of the game at the time and was being put under lots of scrutiny, but he stayed strong. So to have him as an example, and someone I can speak to, is fantastic.