The GAA must “take seriously” the racist abuse of Wexford hurling captain Lee Chin over the weekend, former Dublin player Jason Sherlock has said.
Video footage from the match shows an individual shouting at Chin from the sideline of a match against Tipperary on Saturday and an investigation is underway.
Sherlock played senior football for Dublin for 15 seasons and during that time, received his own share of racist abuse.
He said it led to “a lot of bad days” and that over time “it leaves its scars”.
“First and foremost - thoughts are with Lee,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“I got to know Lee a number of years ago, he was one of the reasons why I spoke out about the racist abuse I would have received on the sports field… [He’s] a very humble guy, very hard working and determined.
“So, first and foremost my thoughts are with Lee and his family because, ultimately, when you’re the recipient of racist abuse, it’s probably the impact it has on your family and friends that’s more important.
“Lee will know - and I hope he will know - he’s not the one with the problem in this situation.
“But at the same time, it’s a horrible experience to go through.
“It’s something that the majority of people in Ireland don’t have to go through - it is quite isolating, it is quite embarrassing and it’s very tough for Lee to have to experience this.”
Sherlock does not think the problem of racism is unique to the GAA and said the problem is with wider Irish society.
However, he also believes things have improved since he was playing professionally.
“That’s one [thing] I was really encouraged about in the video and that’s the response of the players - Lee’s teammates,” he said.
“When I played no-one knew what was right or wrong but the players you could see knew this was wrong and it was out of order.”
In the GAA, anyone found guilty of “an act by deed, word or gesture of a racist, sectarian, or anti-inclusion/diversity nature on an opponent or match official” faces a 48 week ban and Sherlock hopes this incident is taken seriously.
“It’s about the GAA doing as much as it can to ensure when a young boy or girl arrives up with their parents to a GAA field that they’re accepted and that they can have that connection to their club - like I did,” he said.
“The reality is that one punishment to one person isn’t going to be the answer.
“It’s about doing as much as it can to ensure that we educate and we don’t tolerate the racist behaviour that we experienced in that video.
“We do have to act on it to ensure that the GAA are taking it seriously but if we think that this is going to cure everything or that’s the solution, unfortunately it’s not.”
Both Wexford and Tipperary GAA have condemned the abuse of Chin.
Main image: Split of Jason Sherlock and Lee Chin. Pictures by: Alamy.com