Eric Dier questions Harry Kane’s motives in endorsements, Thierry Henry debate

The focus of debate on Friday was the NFL players’ protests against racism during the national anthem, and the vitriol that followed. But England’s national team has its own issues with bias.

United Arab Emirates-based Men’s Journal reported that coaches and players at England’s clubs are beginning to speak out against racism, but the most heated discussion has centred on how the country should treat its non-white soccer stars.

The jarring rise of Tottenham striker Harry Kane is part of the problem. Kane recently announced that he’d signed a $4.85 million deal with commercial partners Visa, which will supply tickets to some of England’s “Premier League” stadiums, among other products.

In an interview with an online publication that never found an outlet, Kane’s teammate Eric Dier criticized the athlete’s decision to use his endorsement deal to rake in money.

“I’ve got really high hopes for him going forward, but it’s kind of a sad situation when you do what Harry Kane does. Maybe, for whatever reason, it’s something he feels he needs to do. Personally, if I knew where all his money went and how all that stuff was going to be spent, I would’ve said something about it. I’d be worried about myself, maybe,” Dier said.

“You feel like you’re being robbed when the people I’m supporting are getting profiled,” Dier added. “It’s not fair and it’s one of the things that annoys me about being an England footballer. For someone to just come in and be like that.”

The player with the most star power in England doesn’t have to worry about that. There’s a debate swirling in soccer circles over whether former Arsenal star Thierry Henry should be inducted into England’s Football Hall of Fame. Henry played four years for Arsenal and won three Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the 2000 Champions League. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2002. He eventually moved to the French national team, and was a consensus member of the World Cup winning 2002 squad.

But he was more often the recipient of racial slurs and abuse at the youth levels. Henry and his teammates and club officials are reportedly still conflicted about his selection into the Hall of Fame. As a member of the best England national team of the 1990s, Henry also enjoyed lucrative television deals to promote Nivea.

“It’s hard to find a role model [in football],” Dier said. “We talk a lot about things to do with equality and all of that stuff, but as players we don’t really do anything with it. We get paid to play football. We get paid to have big glitzy endorsements.”

The football world is increasingly opening its eyes to flaws in the game, but England and the other home nations of the sport have taken some steps in the right direction.

Leave a Comment