For Hector Bellerin, being a top-level footballer is a privilege - but with that privilege comes responsibility.
For our Spanish right-back, the chance to really affect change should be embraced by those playing the sport to make a positive impact throughout society.
This is what Hector told Arsenal Media:
on what global issues antagonise or energise him…
With social issues, I think as footballers we have a massive platform that we should be using way more than we actually are. I know it is very comfortable to just sit at home and stay with your family, your kids and your friends and not think about anything, but with the platform we have, we should be the people that scream at these social issues and get them out there, so as a society we can move forward. There are so many things for me… the climate is a big one, obviously after going plant-based, going vegan, all the things around that is something I like to get involved with. Plastic is a massive issue as well, growing up on the coastline of Barcelona and going back now and seeing all this rubbish in the sea, which I enjoyed it as a kid, makes me sad for the next generations. There are so many things as footballers that we could help more with.
on whether footballers understand their platform to affect change…
Sometimes they don’t understand and sometimes they do, but they’d rather sit at home without pushing these issues. For me, when I raise these issues I always have a backlash in terms of ‘you should just stick to football’ but it is not about that. There are problems that everyone can see but some people try to hide them. When you have a voice, a platform and a following like we do, we are influential people, people that kids growing up want to be like us - and even adults want to have a son like us, or live the life we do - there are not many people in a better position than us to raise social issues, racial issues or environmental issues than anyone else. It is our duty to do the most we can with it.
Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.