29 November 2020

England star Nikita Parris breaks silence on apology to Eni Aluko over ‘that’ Sampson hug

Lyon and England star Nikita Parris has broken her silence over her apology to former team-mate Eni Aluko .

Parris said sorry in a social media post in June for showing ‘solidarity’ with ex-Lionesses boss Mark Sampson in the wake of Aluko accusing him of making racially discriminatory comments in 2016.

Speaking to Kerry Davis, England’s first black female player, for an England Facebook video, Parris said: "I felt I had the responsibility to address it. Because it's been too long. I'll take full responsibility in the fact that I thought if I don't address it, it will go away. It doesn't go away.

“I had a lot of time to look in the mirror and reflect on myself: how can you change? How can you make a change today that will reflect future generations to make change. For me it was looking in the mirror and accepting I made mistakes in 2017.”

Davis questioned why the Lyon forward celebrated a goal in 2017 by hugging Sampson.

She said: “I remember that situation. When I saw you celebrate I was like 'ooh'. The black community, it does stick together. It is important that we're role models within that because whatever anybody says, we do get judged more.

"The fact that you apologised, I thought 'Well done Nikita'. It's important."

Parris said: "When I was younger I was like 'I'm playing football, I'm playing for England, I'm doing well.' But you never really understand how your actions affect so many people.

"I've made mistakes, but the mistakes I've made it wasn't intentional mistakes to hurt someone or to disappoint. But I feel the response to mistakes I've made, I literally ruined a community. I felt I really affected people."

Aluko played 102 times for England

(EMPICS Sport)

Sampson was found later to have made inappropriate comments to Aluko and fellow England star Drew Spence and was subsequently sacked by the Football Association.

Aluko won the last of her 102 caps for the Lionesses in 2016, the same year she spoke out against Sampson. She retired earlier this year and is now a sporting director at Aston Villa.

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