Andre Gray believes footballers can help defeat bigots as Raheem Sterling leads way

Tom HomewoodAssistant Producer

Andre Gray has praised Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling for his response to racism this season and says he’s ‘set the standard for what needs to be done’.

The City forward has become a role model and a champion in standing up to racism during this campaign.

Speaking to BBC Football Focus ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against City, the Watford striker said he agrees with Sterling that walking off the pitch is not the answer and said he’s given racism the exposure it needs.

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The 27-year-old said: "I feel like we are in a modern day era now where we are more powerful than the media and I think Raheem Sterling showed that with the backing he's got from it.

"He's set the standard now for what needs to be done and gave it the exposure it needs.

"If it is fans we are getting abuse from they win because they laugh and we get looked at differently," he said.

"We live in a world where it's never going to go, it's always going to be there, it's just about fighting against it. Probably for us in our situation the biggest way to do that is through success. But I'd back any of my team-mates for whatever they wanted to do."

Gray and Sterling will face each other in the FA Cup on Saturday. Watford are looking for their first ever major trophy, while City are hoping to become the first team win the domestic treble, the League, League Cup and FA Cup.

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