Is Raheem Sterling a contender for Sports Personality of the year?

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SHOULD RAHEEM STERLING WIN SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR?

Raheem Sterling is a long shot 66/1 to win the Sports Personality of the Year award, but should he be a genuine contender?

The Manchester City winger has had a year to remember on the pitch, playing a huge part in his team’s record-breaking Premier League season and then going on to help England to a fourth-place finish at the World Cup.

Sterling has, without doubt, been one of the best British players over the course of the last year and he has a Premier League winners’ medal to show for it.

However, it’s for far more than that why many are tipping him to be a contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The contenders for the award are yet to be revealed with BBC opting to reveal them on the evening of the awards ceremony, December 16th, for the first time in history.But should Raheem Sterling make the cut?

Here’s why he’s an outside 66/1 with Sky Bet to be considered for the award.

Sterling Man City

SPORTING EXCELLENCE

Raheem Sterling is an excellent player and he continues to prove that this season with Manchester City looking to defend their Premier League crown.

Last season, Sterling scored 23 goals in 46 games to help Manchester City to their 100-point Premier League title win, he helped create history as a stalwart of Manchester City, one of Pep’s magicians.

He then went on to help England to their best World Cup finish since 1990. He racked up an astonishing 58 appearances across a extraordinarily long season and he’s already made 22 appearances this season – it’s not even Christmas!

His love for football and his eagerness to play even when his body may disagree goes a long way to summing up what kind of player Sterling is. There’s no denying it’s been an excellent year on the pitch for the 24-year-old and you would be hard-pressed to find a British player who has surpassed what he has achieved in 2018.

Sterling Manchester City

OFF THE PITCH GENEROSITY

Aside from his footballing exploits, Sterling has also been commended for his charitable work. Two years ago, he made a ‘substantial’ donation to the Grenfell Tower fund after 17 people lost their life in the accident.

He said at the time: "It is only a small step, but small steps lead to big changes if we all come together. My condolences to the affected families, also the individuals who lost their homes."

Sterling has also done work for a Police charity, working as a crime ambassador to help keep youths out of trouble. He visits Police projects, speaking to youths and offering his advice to help them choose the path without crime.

And on top of all that, he has paid for the building of schools in his birth country of Jamaica, as well as putting money towards children’s education, allowing less fortunate youngsters to go to school and get the education they may otherwise have missed out on.

Sterling England

BATTLES WITH RACISM

Raheem Sterling has fallen victim to racist abuse in the last week or so, but he has dealt with it magnificently. At the time, he laughed in pity at the offenders, later saying he “wasn’t surprised” by what he heard. A ruthless indictment on society and the world of football.

But one that was needed. Sports stars have a platform to voice their opinions and they have a chance to make a difference. Raheem has been brave enough to do that over the last week, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The Manchester City winger was been subject to relentless abuse from some sections of the British press for years and it continued over the summer, during the World Cup and beyond.

He’s without doubt targeted and given severely unfair treatment by the media, which is supposed to be unbiased and fair. In Sterling’s case, it’s been anything but.

Sterling went on to say in an Instagram post that the media has contributed to racism in this country and particularly towards sports stars like themselves, pointing out how their coverage differs between white players and black players.

Many have found that hard to accept, and it’s difficult to see at the time, but when someone holds it up in the way that Raheem has, it becomes blatantly obvious.

It’s only with the bravery of people like Sterling that change can take place, that people can revise what they are doing, that organisations can take further action against those who are doing wrong. It may be ‘only an Instagram post’, but what Sterling has done with that post is remarkable and he deserves endless credit for having the courage to do it.

Raheem Sterling Gareth Southgate England

WEATHERING THE STORM

This last point is the overriding reason why Raheem Sterling deserves to be considered for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Personality, that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes, that’s forgotten, and it becomes an award of sporting excellence, but one can only hope that it’s remembered what this award is really about.

Of course, sporting excellence plays a part and Raheem Sterling certainly has that box ticked. However, it’s also about how the sportsperson sets an example and Sterling has definitely done that with the way he has handled this awful incident. He has shone a light on society, on the world of football and that doesn’t happen too often, perhaps not often enough.

The 24-year-old has put up with ruthless criticism of his game, of his personality and of his life as a whole, and still managed to turn out performances on the pitch to achieve in a year what many couldn’t in their lifetime.

That goes some way to epitomising the strength of his personality, his unbreakable character.How many people could have done what he has amidst a backdrop of racism, of hate and of criticism?

He clearly has an extraordinary personality and that’s what this award is all about. That’s why Raheem Sterling should undoubtedly be considered for this award.

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