Assault rifle tattoo row: English FA backs Raheem Sterling
The English FA has extended its support to young Manchester City and English winger Raheem Sterling after the recent assault rifle tattoo row.
Earlier, Sterling had uploaded an image of himself on Instagram during a training session with the national team in which a tattoo of a M16 assault rifle on his right leg was visible. Sterling revealed that the tattoo was a symbolic representation of his resolve to never touch a gun in his life.
His father was shot dead in Jamaica when Sterling was just 2 years old, and he declared the tattoo to be of emotional significance to him and said that it was not yet complete.
The innocent and heartfelt gesture came under scrutiny, however, when famous newspaper The Sun covered a story which seemed to be a dig aimed at the Jamaica-born English international.
The article covered the story of Lucy Cope, the founder of the Anti-Gun campaigner's group called 'Mothers against Guns'.
Lucy was the unfortunate mother whose son was shot dead in 2012 and has been an active member of the anti-gun campaigns ever since. The story quoted Lucy who, along with other anti-gun campaigners, demanded exclusion of Sterling from the national team for his new tattoo.
The article has since been heavily criticized by the fans and players alike for their attempt to show the act in bad light. And now, even the English FA has extended its support to Sterling.
A spokesperson from the FA said: "We all support Sterling and acknowledge the honest and heartfelt account he gave. He and the rest of the squad are focused solely on preparing for the forthcoming World Cup."
With the World Cup just weeks away, the sad nature of English journalism has sparked debates all across the world. The English media has been criticized for publishing articles such as these which could hamper a player's morale right before the tournament.
Sterling, who was incredible for Manchester City this season, has been backed to carry his sensational form to Russia, where he is expected to create a difference. It will be interesting to see his reaction on the pitch in the wake of this incident.