I speak on behalf of everyone within our squad when I say there is no room for racism, either on the pitch or off it.
When you look at our squad, we have assembled a multinational group of players who bond together whatever the situation and we do our very best to make sure everyone feels inclusive, regardless of their race, creed or colour.
We have long been a squad that has promoted the ‘together’ message; and this is what makes Brighton & Hove Albion special, so when someone within the group has an issue regarding racist abuse then it affects us all.
Sadly, we’ve had players here who have been abused online and it’s an issue that appears to show little sign of stopping. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. It’s now time that the social media companies and the Government really need to take a stand – after all, actions speak louder than words.
When England lost at the Euros this summer, I had a feeling that the players who missed their penalties would be abused online and that is exactly what happened. These are young lads, trying their very best for their country, and should be lauded for their achievements in helping the country reach a major final. Instead, they were subjected to some sickening abuse – at a time when they were no doubt already feeling low.
We will continue taking the knee this season. It is not a political gesture we are making; we are simply drawing attention to the issue of racism we have in the game and in society in general.
On a more positive note, it really pleases me when I see the great work the club and our charity arm Albion in the Community does off the pitch to highlight the issue of racism, in terms of education and awareness. Education is definitely the key in helping to tackle this long-standing problem, but it’s clear that there’s still a long, long way to go.
In the meantime, we, as players, and the football club in general, must keep promoting the message that there is no room for racism – be it on the pitch or off it. And if you hear or see any forms of racism on a matchday, you must play your part by reporting it.
Thank you all for your continued support,
* Lewis was speaking in today's matchday programme. You can purchase your copy, priced £3.50, at the Amex or online here