ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Sunday Jun 26, 2022

Luther Burrell hits out at racist jokes in rugby

Speaking to Nik Simon of the Daily Mail, Luther Burrell has hit out at a racist culture prevalent in rugby still today.

ADVERTISEMENT

A talented centre, Burrell spent the majority of his playing career at Northampton Saints, before ending his time at the Newcastle Falcons just last year.

At one stage he was a regular in the England team, making 15 appearances over a 3-year period. He made his final appearance for the national side in 2016 when Eddie Jones took over as head coach.

Now retired from rugby, 32-year-old Burrell clearly feels more comfortable speaking out about the tough times he experienced during his playing days.

“I’ve said things that have probably crossed the line,” Burrell said. “Naivety, insecurity, wanting to fit in, the need to be liked. Things are said in the changing room that shouldn’t be said. A lot of what’s said isn’t even malicious, but it’s become normal and it needs to be addressed.

My son and daughter, three and five, are mixed race. Would I be happy with them getting the same racial ‘banter’ from their friends? Of course not.”

Clearly frustrated by the open and free nature of the racist jokes, Burrell gave an insight into some of the comments he has had to deal with:

ADVERTISEMENT

“Comments about bananas when you’re making a smoothie in the morning. Comments about fried chicken when you’re out for dinner.

“We had a hot day at training and I told one of the lads to put on their factor 50. Someone came back and said, “You don’t need it, Luth, put your carrot oil on”.

“Then another lad jumps in and says, “No, no, no, he’ll need it for where his shackles were as a slave”.

Fellow players would regularly greet him in a manner he felt highly aggrieved by:

ADVERTISEMENT

“What’s up my n*****?”, some players would say.

“I’d laugh it off. I’ve been a coward by not speaking up. There’s seniority in rugby environments. You’re treading on eggshells because you don’t want to become segregated from the group.”

“If I was 10 years younger, no way would I be sat here doing this. You want to fit in. You want to be liked.”

Explaining that he was highly uncomfortable with these comments, he hopes that by speaking out now, there will be a conversation within rugby that helps move attitudes forward.

He also admitted that previously he had been complicit and chose not to call anyone out in order to fit in, but feels that future generations should not have to go through this expectation.

The class divide in rugby has been spoken about a lot in recent times, and Burrell feels very strongly that it contributes to certain attitudes.

“I grew up on a council estate in Huddersfield. Ellis Genge is a council estate lad. Are there many Genges around the league? I don’t think there are. When I was in the England team, the only person with a similar upbringing to me was Kyle Eastmond and he walked away from the game aged 31.

“Do football changing rooms have this type of stuff being thrown around? No, because it’s far more diverse.

“The change has to come from within but it won’t happen overnight. You need to plant the seed. I love our sport and I want to see it move forwards.”

Burrell hopes that the younger generation will be able to bring about change so that his children and those around them do not have to deal with the racist jokes that he has.

Related Articles

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Ellis Genge puts on his boxing gloves ready...

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Crazy scenes as player deliberately kicks...

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    RFU make decision on transgender players...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Carlos Spencer Proves Why He Is Rugby's Greatest Ever Magician

  • 15 WEEKS AGO

    Jero De La Fuente pulls Hamstring and uses it to score incredible try

  • 15 WEEKS AGO

    Waisale Serevi: The greatest sevens player ever

  • 15 WEEKS AGO

    David Campese: The Aussie all time great

  • 15 WEEKS AGO

    The man who once raced a Cheetah: Bryan Habana

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 14 HOURS AGO

    Two Of World Rugby’s Best Set To Go Head-To-Head

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Los Pumas Backrow Marcos Kremer Handed Mid-Range Ban Follow Red In Scotland Match

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Former Scottish Coach Under Fire For Controversial HIA Comments

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    England Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie Hammers Beauden Barrett With Low Shot

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Massive Brawl in Scotland vs Argentina Thriller At BT Murrayfield

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Finn Russell Sets Up Worldie Try As Scotland Flex Their Muscles Against 14-Man Argentina

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Kyle Sinckler pushes insane amount on the leg press

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Harry Potter misfires comeback spell as Bath defeat Leicester

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Lions Star Jordan Hendrikse Smashes 70m Penalty Kick

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Watch Adam Hastings hit 50m+ match winning drop goal in extraordinary scenes

View All

Funnies

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Brutal Story Reveals How Tough Eddie Jones Is On His Staff

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Stuart Hogg Scares The Pants Off Duhan van der Merwe

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    One Year On From Freddie Steward's Brilliant Post Springbok Match Interview

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    World Class Sledging During Scotland vs Argentina Match Picked Up On Ref Mic

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Watch Joe Marler score a drop goal and a terrific try in Harlequins Vs Barbarians match

View All

Amateur

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 17 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

  • 18 WEEKS AGO

    Hilarious Club House Antics Shows Rugby Spirit

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: South African Schools Rugby Is On Fire

View All

Player Features

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Cipriani set to start in last Barbarians test of the year

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Finn Russell very close to joining west-country Premiership outfit

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    South Africa name side without Cheslin Kolbe and other stars ahead of England match

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Capuozzo among the winners at the World Rugby Awards

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Watch Joe Marler score a drop goal and a terrific try in Harlequins Vs Barbarians match

View All