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"Discrimination is still prominent in society and football. Everyone needs to help tackle it." - Coventry City's Reda Johnson

6 February 2015

The City duo visited Barrs Hill School to take part in a Kick it Out workshop designed at tackling discrimination as part of the 'Season of Action'...

Coventry City midfielder James Maddison set an example at a local secondary school as part of Kick It Out’s ‘Season of Action’ to talk about inequality and racism.

The Coventry-born 18-year old, who was joined by defender Reda Johnson, spent time with over 25 pupils at Barrs Hill Secondary School, on Radford Road, to help raise awareness on the topic to pupils.

The visit was part of Kick It Out’s ‘Season of Action’, which is a season-long initiative helping to promote equality, inclusion and diversity across all levels of the game.

The ‘Season of Action’ format – introduced last season to recognise Kick It Out’s 20 year anniversary – has replaced the traditional ‘weeks of action’ which used to fall in October.

The event also intertwined with the Sky Blues In The Community (SBITC)’s work too, with many of the pupils present also involved in the club’s Kicks Project.

Maddison, a former pupil of Caludon Castle school, was delighted to visit Barrs Hill alongside Johnson and hailed events like these as “massive” and expressed how vital he feels it is for footballers to play their part in supporting the local community.

“Me and Reda both really enjoyed going to Barrs Hill,” Maddison explained.

“Events like this are massive. It doesn’t matter if you’re of any ethnicity or sexuality, we’re all the same and all deserve equal opportunities. It’s important to educate people on this and it’s a great way to help raises awareness.

“The kids look up to me and Reda and I think it’s good for them to hear the message from us - I think they listened to us and I think they enjoyed the day. It’s important for footballers to show that we are just normal people and to get out into the community.

“I think Kick It Out are really helping to show we are all the same – look at me and Reda – he’s black and a Muslim and I’m white but we live for the same thing and both play football and respect each other.”

Maddison and defender Johnson, who joined the club in the summer, took part in a variety of activities with the children, including designing programme covers, speaking about equality within football and took part in a Q and A session.

A practicing Muslim, Johnson was able to reflect on discrimination he received in the past and was delighted to help Kick It Out deliver the messages on inequality to pupils.

Johnson added: “It was a very good afternoon. Discrimination is still prominent in society and football. I think football is a great place to start to stop discrimination and take the right way forward.

“When I was in school I experienced discrimination and also in football. I remember playing against Millwall I experienced that, I know some players who have had worse experiences like Kevin Prince Boateng, but raising awareness to the kids is a great thing, they enjoyed it and I think we've helped them today.”

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