Beats by Dr. Dre (Beats) and Chelsea F.C have today released a one-to-one discussion between former Chelsea footballer and activist Paul Canoville and current star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The powerful conversation highlights football’s difficult history with racism and confronts the change that still needs to happen today. As Chelsea’s first black player in the 1980s, Canoville shares his experiences of the abuse he faced on and off the pitch throughout his career. In response, Hudson-Odoi acknowledges that whilst strides have been made as a result of trailblazers like Canoville, more work is needed to be done to eradicate racism from football and society, once and for all.



Chelsea F.C Chairman, Bruce Buck, commented: “Chelsea Football Club is proud to be a diverse club, on and off the pitch, where everyone should feel welcome, valued and included, whatever their background or identity. We are very proud of the impact and success of our black players, past and present. Like Paul and Callum, they have written and continue to write our club’s history. As this piece with Beats shows, however, the fight goes on. We must continue to work to eradicate racism from football and society once and for all.”



The conversation builds on Beats latest campaign, “You Love Me,” which celebrates Black culture and resilience. The campaign, which launched last week, discusses the disparate experience of Black artists and athletes being adored for their achievements, whilst the Black community continues to experience oppression and inequality. 





Paul Canoville on growing up in the UK… 

For me, it’s what my parents went through. I was proud to be black. It was so difficult when they came over on the Windrush that my mum wanted to better herself and found it difficult. This [colour of my skin] shouldn’t have to get in the way. I just don’t understand it and that still continues to this very day. 

Paul Canoville on experience racism from the terraces… 

That day [Canoville’s first match for Chelsea] was a surprise that shocked me and knocked me for six. As a young black lad who was warming up after being given the nod from his manager and thinking ‘yeah I’m ready, I’m going to strip off’, and then I hear this racist abuse… it does affect you because I went home after thinking ‘what did I do wrong? What can I do better?



Callum Hudson-Odoi on reacting to racist abuse…

You want to look at them and give them a reaction, but sometimes you giving them a reaction makes them feel like ‘we want to do more – we want to carry on doing it to you because you’re giving us what we want. You’re giving us that reaction that we’re winning.’

Callum Hudson-Odoi on making change for the better… 

I think that there’s got to be a massive change. We keep saying it day in day out, we’ve got to change something in football because you don’t want to feel that kind of way about anything. Whether it’s in the stadium and you’re hearing racist abuse, or you’re on social media and you’re seeing racial abuse – you shouldn’t be hearing that at all. Our skin colour should never affect football.



Callum Hudson-Odoi on Canoville’s influence… 

All the stories that I’ve heard and read about – I really appreciate the way you handled your situation. You made a big statement for everyone to understand that black players can come through, make a name for themselves and be proud of their skin colour.





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