'Let him give up football' – Barnes fires back at Sancho over his racism comments
John Barnes has suggested Jadon Sancho should “give up football” if he is falling out of the love with the game following various incidents of racist abuse in football over the past few weeks.
The 19-year-old England winger said his “love of the sport” would be threatened if racist attacks on footballers continued after vile taunts have been directed at Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku among others in recent weeks.
However, Barnes criticised Sancho’s comments, insisting the Borussia Dortmund star should “go into the real world” and see “what real discrimination is about”.
“You love football because of the game, not because of some idiot who is going to shout at your from across the street,” Barnes told talkSPORT.
“If Jadon is going to fall out of love with football, let him give up football and let him go into the real world as a young black man without an education and without being able to play football, then he'll see what it's really like to be a black person who is racially abused.
“As much as footballers want to talk about how terrible it is for them, look at what's happening in the black community of kids without an education and who haven't got jobs.
“If he thinks that's bad [the abuse of footballers], let him go into the real world and see what real discrimination is about.”
Barnes feels that footballers affected by racist abuse should become advocates for those less fortunate suffering the same problems.
He believes the strength of the message from high-profile players could have a lasting effect on helping highlight issues within the community.
“We're now coming full circle, we're trying to get something to change so lets get these black superstar footballers to tell us what we should do and tell us how terrible it is for them,” he added.
“What they should do is use their voice to talk about discrimination where it really hurts people in the inner cities with kids who can't get jobs or opportunities.
“He's signed a nice new contract, is he willing to give that contract up because he's falling out of love with football? I don't think he is. Let's not get it blown out of proportion.”
Sancho has had a stunning start to the season for Dortmund, scoring two goals and claiming three assists in his opening three Bundesliga games.
The teenager has also been called up to the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo, where he will be keen to score his first goal for his country.