Jamaican -born England and Manchester City football wizard Raheem Sterling has been awarded by Britain's Queen Elizabeth with the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his work in promoting racial equality.
Sterling was a standout among the 262 people on The Queen's Birthday Honours List unveiled on June 11, recognising individuals' bravery, service, or achievement in their fields, the St Kitts-Nevis Observer reported.
The 26-year-old, who has been heavily involved in anti-racism and anti-discrimination campaigns, has been made an MBE, the third highest-ranking Order of the British Empire award. It is also awarded to someone for making a positive impact in their line of work, the newspaper said.
The Jamaican-born footballer responded to the announcement saying: “I am grateful to have been recognised, but my priority is to try to help to educate society and myself. If it doesn't start from within, then there's no way you can help others. I'm learning every day.”
Sterling, a Premier League and League Cup winner with City this season, has been subjected to racial slurs in stadiums and online since the start of his career. In 2019, he took part in an anti-racism campaign, “No Room For Racism”.
He was subsequently awarded The Integrity and Impact Award at the BT Sport Industry Awards for speaking out on a range of social issues, including racism, that same year, the publication said.
During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, following the death of black American George Floyd, Raheem Sterling was also one of the English Premier League players who replaced their names on their soccer jersey with the racial justice logo “Black Lives Matter”, it said.
The award came just days after England players were booed by fans for taking the knee to protest against racial injustice before friendly matches ahead of Euro 2020. Sterling expressed “real disappointment” that some fans have not understood the reasons behind it.
— Compiled by Kevin Wainwright and edited by Desmond Allen