The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Manchester City's Raheem Sterling after he was allegedly racially abused at Chelsea, and accused the media of helping to "fuel racism" with its coverage of black footballers.
City were beaten 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and the Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is reviewing footage that shows a Chelsea fan allegedly directing racist abuse at England international Sterling.
In a post on Instagram on Sunday morning, Sterling wrote that he expects "no better" and cited a Daily Mail story from January about his teammate Tosin Adarabioyo as an example of how media coverage of young black players contributes to "why people are racist in this day and age."
In a statement, players' union the PFA said it "condemned in the strongest terms the increase in racial abuse our members have been receiving from the terraces."
The statement said: "We encourage all clubs to take the strongest possible action for fans found guilty of racially abusing players.
"Over the past two weeks, we have seen two alleged high-profile racist incidents happen from the stands at Premier League games [a banana skin was thrown towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during Arsenal's game against Spurs].
"We stress to all clubs the importance of dealing with these incidents robustly. It is not acceptable for our members to find themselves subject to racist abuse."
Simone Pound, the PFA's head of equality and diversity, said: "Football is a microcosm of society, and incidents such as this highlight the current political climate.
"Raheem has made a stand by speaking out and we stand shoulder to shoulder with him against the discrimination of which he speaks. We all have a part to play in tackling racism and discrimination, and certain sectors of the media must be held to account."
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Sterling's immediate response after receiving the alleged abuse.
"I already thought his reaction was just brilliant," Klopp told a news conference on Monday. "You saw his face and he gave the right response not to react to these people. They don't earn any reaction, they don't deserve any respect or whatever.
"I'm obviously not surprised things like this still happen. It will not stop only because we talk now about it. I like the fact that we put the finger on it and say: 'You cannot say what you want, it's not possible'. We had similar situations in Germany and in other countries as well. In Italy, I knew when [Kevin-Prince] Boateng stopped the game because of the things the people shouted from the stands.
"There needs to be punishment for that. As long as people are silly enough to do things like this, they need to get punished for this. What I like is that 95 percent or more of the people are not like this, so we should try to find the right amount of tension for these people.
"Yes, punish them, but don't talk too much about them because they don't deserve that we talk about them."
In his Instagram post, Sterling included two photographs contrasting newspaper headlines on similar stories involving black and white teammates at City -- Adarabioyo and Phil Foden -- who bought houses this year.
The headline on the story about Adarabioyo, who is black, focuses on how he spent £2.25 million on a house "despite having never started a Premier League match," while that about Foden says he bought a £2m home "for his mum."
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Good morning I just want to say , I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don't expect no better. For example you have two young players starting out there careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for there mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the news papers get there message across for the young black player and then for the young white payer. I think this in unacceptable both innocent have not done a thing wrong but just by the way it has been worded. This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an aggressive behaviour, so for all the news papers that don't understand why people are racist in this day and age all i have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity an give all players an equal chance.
Sterling added: "For example, you have two young players starting out their careers, both play for the same team, both have done the right thing. Which is buy a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look how the newspapers get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player.
"I think this is unacceptable ... this young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism and aggressive behaviour, so for all the newspapers that don't understand why people are racist in this day and age, all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity and give all players an equal chance."