England footballer Raheem Sterling recently suffered a hurl of abuse after the Sun ran a piece detailing a tattoo that the Manchester City star recently inked on his right leg. Nothing surprising in that you would say, only for it to be revealed that he had got a tattoo if an M16 assault rifle.
That the 23-year-old got such a tattoo created a storm on social media with many calling for him to be dropped from the Three Lions squad for the World Cup, with an anti-gun campaigning mother even going on to say that such an action is “an absolute disgrace.”
My final thought today on Sterling-gate: England footballers don't tattoo large guns onto their legs before World Cups without expecting the exact reaction Raheem's ink work has inspired today.
So, I'd like to hear him explain it in more detail.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 29, 2018
“This tattoo is disgusting. Raheem should hang his head in shame. It’s totally unacceptable. We demand he has the tattoo lasered off or covered up with a different tattoo. If he refuses he should be dropped from the England team,” the anti-gun campaigner said.
While some were offended, others wondered why the Sun would come out with the story and this angle so close to the World Cup. Was this because he is an immigrant with Jamaican roots? Consider this while they vilified the star for his tattoo, they ran another piece in August last year on Conor McGregor and his tattoos, with many even more offensive than that of Sterling’s.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) November 10, 2016
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter was actually praised for getting a number of tattoos, one with motto “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” is inscribed. The saying is common in elite military units’ firearms training, specifically the Navy SEAL.
Was he celebrated because he is Irish? Or just because he is not a footballer? Or because he is of Jamaican descent? That he got it done because his father was shot makes no difference to anyone. Oh and lest we forget, this kind of news sells so let’s just distract a footballer who is going to play in the biggest tournament of his life.