John Barnes says racism must be tackled in wider society after Romelu Lukaku abuse
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 02/09/19 5:13pm
John Barnes believes racist abuse will continue in football until discrimination is eradicated from society as a whole.
Romelu Lukaku became the latest black player to receive racist abuse after being subjected to monkey chants during Inter Milan's 2-1 Serie A win over Cagliari on Sunday.
Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Tammy Abraham have all been targeted by online abuse in recent weeks, prompting calls for social media websites to do more to tackle the issue.
Lukaku believes football is "going backwards" in regards to stamping out racism and Barnes says the problem will continue unless society does more to educate people about the causes of discrimination.
"I wouldn't say we're going backwards but we're exactly where we were," said Barnes.
"There is not a footballing solution to this, there is only an educational and social solution to this problem.
"What can football do? It's an educational thing, a social thing. Look at the environment people have been brought up in, which has got nothing to do with football.
"Football is a vehicle for them to show [racism] but it is not an issue in football, it is an issue in society.
"Until we start to challenge it, it will exist in all walks of society."
Barnes says the recent incidents of racist abuse in football are a "disgrace" but believes the sport is doing more to eradicate the problem than many other areas of society.
He said: "Michael Johnson and Chris Powell have just been given jobs at the English FA and, while I am not a big fan of positive discrimination, at least football seems to be doing something to address the problem.
"We absolve ourselves of responsibility by just looking at football to talk about the big problems.
"Yes we do have the problem of racism in football but they seem to be doing more than other industries, in trying to promote equality.
"If you want to keep it on a football level, yes it is a disgrace and something needs to be done, but no one has come up with a plan to try and do anything about it."