Holding on reporting racism, allyship and more

Rob Holding
Rob Holding

Our victory over Leeds United back in December was marred by an incident when Nuno Tavares and Nicolas Pepe were racially abused by a fan while warming up.

Rob Holding received praise for his role in reporting the incident immediately, and the person in question was consequently arrested - and our centre back says it highlights the importance of standing up for what is right.

“I was on the bench when it happened, and when the lads came back it was Emile, Nuno and Nico, and Emile was sat next to me and said, ‘The lads just got racially abused’, and I was like, ‘What just warming up then?’ and he said yeah,” Holding said. “There was like a split decision where I was thinking, ‘I need to do something about that’ and I went and talked to the assistant manager, Steve Round, and he then reported it to the fourth official. 

“I asked Emile, 'Would you be able to point out the person in case it comes down to that?' and he said, 'Yeah, 100 per cent’ and then I asked Nico and Nuno, 'Has this been said?' and they said yeah, and I asked if they heard it and they said yeah, and then I checked with them to see how they felt and how it was but they didn't want to report it themselves, they felt uncomfortable with it. That's where having an ally or someone to help [steps in] and it felt like the right thing to do.

“Then they stopped the game, the ref came over and I had to give an account of what happened and then it went from there and it was dealt with the authorities. By the end of the game, I think the culprit had been taken out.”

So how did it feel to receive such widespread praise for his role in reporting it?

“I wasn't expecting that at all, I didn't think it would be talked about for the rest of the day but I remember Ian Wright messaging me and saying how much he loved hearing the support for me,” Holding said. 

“As a human being it was the right thing to do, regardless of what praise you might get. It's not even a concept I thought of. It's nice to be spoken about highly but just me, as a person, was doing the right thing.”

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