Bolton Wanderers star Zat Knight says Hodgson joke was a storm in a teacup
ZAT Knight believes the racism issue that descended on the England camp last week has been exaggerated by the media.
The Wanderers skipper – capped twice by his country – has condemned the coverage of Roy Hodgson’s now-famous anecdote about a spaceman and a monkey during the half time break in the Wembley win over Poland.
Hodgson was forced into an apology for what some interpreted was a racial slur against winger Andros Townsend. The issue dominated the media for days but speaking at an event at the Reebok Stadium organised by charity Show Racism the Red Card, Knight believes there was a big over-reaction to Hodgson’s choice of language.
“I think the media can sometimes blow things out of proportion, it’s important to look at the positive things,” he said.
“If there is an issue then we need to deal with it and move on and now concentrate on the friendlies that are coming up ahead of the tournament.
“I think as a nation we tend to dwell on things for too long and that is England’s problem — you don’t see the media in countries like Spain doing that sort of thing.”
Knight was joined at the event by team-mate Medo Kamara, first team coach Curtis Fleming and former Liverpool player Howard Gayle for a question and answer session with local youngsters on issues of racism in football.
Speaking after the event, Knight added: “I really enjoyed talking with the kids — I’ve got an 11 year old who has just started at secondary school and is starting to ask me about issues such as racial stereotyping — so it’s important for me.”
First team coach Fleming he had “rarely been asked such good questions” as those delivered by the youngsters.
He added: “It was fantastic to hear the kids talking about these issues and it’s great that it’s in their psyche at this age.”