People feel free to be 'openly racist,' says former football star

    Raheem Sterling was allegedly racially abused in Manchester City's defeat at Chelsea.

    (CNN)The last week has served as an unpleasant reminder that racism still exists within British football.

    Just days after Arsenal player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana thrown at him by a fan, Saturday saw Raheem Sterling of Manchester City become the latest victim of alleged racist abuse.
      The incident occurred as Sterling and his City teammates lost at Chelsea to open up potentially the most exciting Premier League title race in years.
      But the match was overshadowed by the actions of a group of Chelsea supporters during the match at Stamford Bridge.
      Standing in the front row, within touching distance of Sterling, a group of men stood up and leaned over the advertizing hoardings to direct abuse at the 24-year-old.
      The incident comes a week after Aubameyang had a banana thrown at him.
      On Monday, Chelsea said they'd identified and suspended four supporters over the allegations of racism.
      The scenes, captured on live TV broadcasts, sparked outrage from fans, pundits and former players.
      "Britain now is as it was in the 1970s, when I was growing up in Cannock, a mixed-raced child within a community that was, and remains, 99.9% white," ex-Liverpool player Stan Collymore wrote in The Guardian.
      "In this post-Brexit vote environment, people again feel free to be openly racist, saying and writing the types of things that vilify certain sections of society for no other reason than the way they look.
      "There's a blame culture at play and, more often than not, it's black and Asian people who get the blame."
      The incident is being investigated by police, Chelsea and the English Football Association.