Knife crime: Troy Deeney says calling footballers role models is 'lazy'

Troy Deeney
Troy Deeney has played more than 300 games for Watford since joining from Walsall in 2010

It is "lazy" to call footballers and celebrities role models, says Watford striker Troy Deeney in an interview about knife crime in Britain.

Deeney, 30, was asked about the number of young people being stabbed in the UK in recent weeks - and what he could do as a high-profile sportsman to help.

"I don't like the word role model, first and foremost," Deeney told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"The role model should be in the house at all times."

Deeney, who was jailed in 2012external-link for affray, said: "We're all humans - people make mistakes. We're putting emphasis on being famous as more important than being a good person.

"What are we basing the role model on? Because we're in the limelight. I don't like that."

Deeney, a father of two children, added: "If my kids look up to a man bigger and better than me, then that's me not doing my job.

"My dad was not a footballer. He wasn't anything remotely what the average person would say was a role model - but in my eyes he was Superman."

Troy Deeney
Troy Deeney meets young Watford fans

Social media creates 'snowball effect'

Deeney said the media has a "big opportunity" and a responsibility to balance its reporting of incidents of knife crime with more positive community work trying to tackle the problem.

He said social media plays a part in creating a "snowball effect" for young people to carry weapons.

"Back in the day you used to have a fight," Deeney said. "You win, you lose, you get up and go home, dust yourself down.

"Social media made it so that if you lose a fight it is on camera, you are embarrassed and you are forced to react.

"It takes a very strong person to not react and the only other way they know how to do that is with a weapon, unfortunately.

"If you know others are carrying a weapon, you carry a weapon, and nine times out of 10 you are already going to attract that kind of energy.

"It's a tough situation. I don't want to sound like I'm preaching, but how do you tell someone that feels they need to carry [a weapon] with them, that they shouldn't carry it?

"I would like it that no-one carried weapons and got into fights, but I'm a realist and that's never going to happen.

"While it's a growing issue, it needs to start within the home and communities in getting hold of the kids and making sure they understand the consequences.

"You have to impact one and then hope it impacts three and so on - again, the snowball effect. Everyone has a responsibility."

Deeney's team-mate Andre Gray, who was stabbed in the face in 2011, has also spoken out on knife crime.

The 27-year-old striker told BBC Sport last year that he grew up with knife crime as a "fashion" in Wolverhampton and managed to escape gang culture when he joined Luton in 2012.

Gray is now actively trying to prevent violent crimes among young people in his hometown.

I got lucky - Andre Gray on growing up with knife crime

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