Ex-City striker Jerome on why he doesn't take the knee and football's battle against racism
- Credit: PA
Cameron Jerome is fearful that his skin colour will prevent him from forging a career in coaching after his retirement from professional football.
The ex-Norwich City striker is now 35 and is beginning to consider what his life might look like after he calls time on his career. Jerome is currently with Championship side Luton Town but is yet to score in nine appearances.
Racism in football has been a topic of intense debate for the last year, with players continuing to take a knee in the Premier League before the beginning of matches in protest against the inequality many ethnic minorities face in modern society.
For Jerome, however, he believes the meaning behind the protest has faded somewhat and Luton's first-team squad have elected to stand as a collective by the centre circle before kick-off as an alternative.
The former Canaries striker has been speaking about why he thinks that holds greater significance than the taking of a knee.
"It's become more of a cowardly act now where the trolling's become quite relevant and not just racism but all sorts of abuse," he said.
"Online, it's become quite easy just to sit behind a desk or just have your phone and abuse somebody for gender, race or any sort of difference.
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"Everyone had started taking the knee and it sort of just faded for me. It really hit home for me and I was thinking 'you know what?' Why are we actually still doing this and nothing's been done about it?'
"I think standing sends an even stronger message for me. We took a united front as a team and as a club. We're going to stand together and we're going to stand proud."
Jerome scored 42 goals for Norwich in 138 appearances for the club between 2014 and 2018, including the opening goal in their play-off triumph over Middlesborough at Wembley in 2015.
Spells with Derby, Turkish outfit Goztepe and MK Dons followed before he returned to the Championship this summer with Luton.
Despite having aspirations of becoming a manager or a coach after he hangs up his boots, Jerome is concerned about the lack of a pathway for black coaches. At present, there are only seven BAME coaches in managerial positions in the top four divisions of English football.
"Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, who have played at the top, top level, have gone out and got top jobs in their first jobs but you have someone like Sol Campbell, who was England captain as well, goes to Macclesfield, then he goes to Southend," he told Look East.
"You've got top players coming out of the game who are coming out of the game. It's disheartening really. I've had a good career behind me, I'm really interested in coaching but there's just not a pathway for me."