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Leeds United participate in #BlackoutTuesday. The club now needs to apologise to Jonathan Leko.

It is good to see the club standing with those persecuted, but there is a glaring example of hypocrisy which undermines the message.

Leeds United, Andrea Radrizzani, and some of Leeds playing staff have posted messages and/or black screens on their social media pages, using #BlackoutTuesday and/or #BlackLivesMatter.

It is great to see Leeds United, along with much of the footballing world, coming out in support of change. This isn’t purely about one case, but it seems the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota has captured the public in a manner that has seen protests spring up both throughout the USA and all around the world.

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It is fair for me to say that I am writing this from the perspective of a white guy living near Leeds. I have never been to America, I am not out on protests right now.

Leeds United at the moment are a great club to be a fan of. They have played great football under Marcelo Bielsa, who appears from all evidence to be a great man as well as a great coach. Leeds have been shown to have been ahead of the curve when it comes to dealing with coronavirus, and have been very vocal in their support of frontline workers throughout this. As a Leeds fan, there has been more about the club to be proud of than any time I personally can remember.

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The major blot on this season is the words of Kiko Casilla to Jonathan Leko in a game away at Charlton Athletic in September. What he said wasn’t proven in a court of law, but the report made very clear that the charge was proven far beyond the usual “balance of probability” that would be used in a case like this.

Last month Jonathan Leko said in an interview that he was yet to receive an apology from either Kiko Casilla or Leeds United. Kiko apologising is a matter for him, and as he still maintains his innocence I do not expect there to be one (although I would like to see it), what I am asking for is for the club to apologise to Jonathan Leko.

The instinct for Leeds to close ranks around Casilla and “back the player” was understandable at the time, but once a guilty verdict was found the club should have immediately apologised. They haven’t, but things like this are a process and a late apology is far better than no apology at all.

Racism is a scourge, and it is far from going away. Small actions and large actions matter. An apology from Leeds United to Jonathan Leko is what is just and necessary. It doesn’t need to be public. This isn’t about showing the world where you stand, it is about a player in a Leeds United shirt racially abusing a fellow professional footballer. Jonathan Leko was subjected to abuse, he deserves an apology.

It is not only the abuse itself, the report showed that there were people at Leeds United who lied and attempted to cover for him while it was being investigated. I am hoping that an apology happened in the weeks since Leko’s interview and it never came out, I cannot say for certain that it hasn’t.

I haven’t said enough on this subject either through our podcast Twitter (@MightyWhitesPod) or this website’s Twitter (@ThruItAllLUFC). I have struggled to find a way to say anything eloquent on the subject and have shared the words of people who have rather than my own. However, that isn’t good enough. People need to be vocal.

Leeds United owe Jonathan Leko an apology. The world needs to change. #BlackLivesMatter