Brentford midfielder Romaine Sawyers hopes football helps challenge the scourge that is homophobia and will do his utmost to stamp out discrimination.
The former Walsall man was at Sky Studios on Tuesday night for a screening of Rhys Chapman's film 'Wonderkid', a film about a gay footballer, struggling to deal with his sexuality.
And Sawyers, who is a 'Next 20' Kick It Out ambassador, hopes football can help get the message across that discrimination is not required.
He said: “I think, like a few people on the panel said, football is a powerful industry and change opinions away and trying to get the message across using a footballer's life as people will be intrigued by a footballer's lifestyle.
“We've seen successful films such as Goal and stuff like that. I think it's a very interesting but good way of getting the message across.
“It's a good showing and more people that see the message it'll get out louder and louder.”
Sawyers is, of course, aware of the struggle black players had in the 1980s but until the incident against Burton, which led to Ben Turner being charged for making racist abuse, the midfielder had never come across an incident on the pitch.
“I haven't experienced racial abuse towards me earlier in my career,” before adding in regards to whether he wanted to punch the Brewers man after hearing the allegations: “You've got to act responsibly as a professional footballer.
“You're a role model to people in your family, community and country. You're a role model to a lot of people you know and people you've never met.
“You've got to act in a mature way and like Rhys said some people see celebrities as not human beings.
“As a footballer, you have to act as a human and you have more responsibilities naturally and use it in the right way to get a positive message.
“When you hear things, you've got to act how you want to teach people to act.”
AFC Bournemouth photographer Sophie Cook, who came out as transgender in 2015, revealed that she had been the target for abuse on six occasions, five of them from children.
Sawyers is aware of the type of words used in the playgrounds and hopes that films such as Wonderkid can challenge those environments as well.
He said: “I think films like this give you a brief education, shall we say. As a junior or a younger person, it's a bit like some people interpret gay as being a happy person.
“It depends on how you use the word. It's not right across the whole board. Some people have different meanings and different educations.
“I wouldn't use a word like that as I was brought up in a non-judgemental environment. When you go into the schools and hear the kids, it's nicknames.
“Kids are more innocent than a grown adult. It's just getting that message across and things like Wonderkid allows kids to get an education you might not see elsewhere. A kid may be intrigued by the fact football is involved.”
Football, of course, is not alone in having discrimination and other art forms such as music and gaming have been known to use the most reprehensible words.
Sawyers admitted he would like to see that changed because he knows children will hear them and repeat them, quite possibly without fully understanding the connotations.
He explained: “I think, again like a footballer, music is a powerful industry so words and how it's said across lyrics and so forth.
“Kids get access to the internet, they hear these words and you hear people from the ages of three up to 30 sing the same things their favourite rappers say.
“They've got a responsibility as well, whether they're told they have or care as much or see it as much I'm not sure.
“In the football environment, you can tell walking in a room as a recognisable face brings joy to a child.
“If they see you acting a certain way naturally it can help. I remember everyone in school wanted to copy Beckham's hair, boots. When he gets a new hair cut people go and do it.
“From a footballer's point of view, you have a subconscious effect on a lot of people you don't know.”
Since the vote to leave the European Union, reports of hate crime have been on the rise and Sawyers, while understanding he can't change everyone's mind, wants to make a positive impact on as many people as possible.
He said: “I see it. You can watch the news and you see it on social media left, right and centre. It's about my role and how I can effect it.
“Football has given me a platform where I can effect a certain audience. I can't make a complete change but that one per cent I could make to say H (Harlee Dean) being our captain, the gaffer (Dean Smith), or Rich (O'Kelly) or Mark Devlin.
“All of it adding up can make a big difference. It's key to the whole of society but we, as footballers, have got to focus within football and then the bigger picture.”
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