Race row as City star Raheem Sterling blames the press
Negative press coverage of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling "emboldens racist rhetoric", says the Professional Footballers' Association.
Sterling, 24, posted on Instagram on Sunday saying newspapers are helping to "fuel racism" by the ways in which they portray young black footballers.
Sterling was allegedly racially abused during City's 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.
"It is evident that he is often singled out and treated more harshly than his colleagues," said a union statement.
"As such, these stories are fuelling racism within the game, as reports of racist abuse continue to rise.
"We have been aware for a few months of the targeting Raheem faces in the press."
Chelsea and the Metropolitan Police are investigating the claims from Saturday's Premier League match at Stamford Bridge.
England international Sterling said he "had to laugh" when he heard the alleged racist remarks because he expects "no better".
"All I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity and give all players an equal chance," he added.
According to figures from anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, reports of discriminatory abuse in football increased 11% last season - a sixth successive annual rise.