"The word 'racist' is a permanent stain against my name" - Jamie Vardy says label is "worse than a criminal record"

The England striker was accused of being racist after repeatedly referring to a man in a casino as a 'Jap'

Jamie Vardy

Image: Nigel French / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Jamie Vardy is wary that the label 'racist' has damaged his reputation irreparably, after the England striker was caught up in a race row last year.

The 29-year-old was caught on CCTV in a casino repeatedly referring to a fellow gambler as a 'Jap' and the incident was made public by the Sun on Sunday newspaper.

Vardy, who was instrumental in guiding Leicester City to a maiden Premier League title last season, called the incident a "regrettable error in judgement" and claimed that the mark against his name is "worse than a criminal record".

"Most convictions get wiped after a period of time," he said in his autobiography, which is being serialized by The Sun. "But there's no way of erasing what happened in July 2015.

"The word 'racist' is a permanent stain against my name. It's worse than a criminal record... Some people will never forgive me. Others will accept I made a terrible mistake and recognise I have learnt from it.

"It's on YouTube when my kids type in their dad's name and it comes up 'Jamie Vardy racist'. On Google, too. It's horrible."

The video footage in question shows Vardy sitting at a casino table and shouting "Yo Jap, walk on...".

"I like a drink and enjoy being Jack the Lad," he continued. "I've had a few scraps and spent a night in a cell. I can be a pain in the a***. But one thing I'm not, and never will be, is a racist.

"I looked in the eyes of the student I verbally abused and told him that. I needed him to see how sorry I was. I wanted him to know there was ignorance, not malice or prejudice, behind the word I used.

He added: "I was angry at the time and I'd had too much to drink but I'd never have used the word 'Jap' if I'd known it was racist."

Via The Telegraph