Georginio Wijnaldum: Liverpool player will walk off the pitch if racially abused
Liverpool and Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum says he would walk off the pitch if he was racially abused.
"A lot of people don't understand the pain you feel as a black player if you get [racist] abuse," he said.
Last weekend, footballers in the Netherlands' top two divisions did not play during the first minute of games to protest against racism.
When asked if he would walk off due to abuse, Wijnaldum said: "Yeah, I would."
He continued: "I think everyone should [walk off]. That's the way you support another person, because why should you go on?
"If you go on it will never stop, because the people will think 'OK, we will abuse the player, they will go inside, we will stop a little bit, but they will come outside again, we will play the game, so why should we stop?'," Wijnaldum told CNN Sport.
The 29-year-old, who has been a mainstay in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side this season, went on to say he would walk off if he heard abuse during a major final.
"Yeah, I would [walk off], for sure," he said. "Because those things in my opinion cannot happen.
"Everyone will have their own opinion about it, but in my opinion you should also protect the players."
Brescia striker Mario Balotelli kicked the ball into the crowd and threatened to leave the pitch due to racist abuse during his side's 2-1 defeat by Hellas Verona this month.
The former Manchester City and Liverpool player later criticised the "small-minded fans" who shouted abuse at him.
However, Balotelli has since been branded "arrogant" by his club's ultras group, before Brescia stated that their chairman Massimo Cellino's controversial comments regarding the striker were "clearly misunderstood".
"It frustrates me a lot to see that because you don't know what he is feeling," said Wijnaldum.
"With Balotelli it was not the first time it happened, so you don't know what he is feeling. Why don't you support him and walk with him from the pitch? Why don't you do that?
"They will say 'Don't let them get in your head', but they don't feel the pain of the person who gets racially abused."