'They were as bad as monkey chants' Welsh rugby player Ashton Hewitt recalls racist abuse he suffered as a child

Credit: ITV Wales

Welsh rugby player Ashton Hewitt says he has normalised "lifelong" racism and education is needed in order to push change following Black Lives Matter protests.

Following the death of George Floyd in the United States, sports stars have condemned police brutality and racism.

The Dragons player told ITV News said the movement isn't just about America and that its "shed light as to what's going on in the UK. There's a lot of similarities."

Hewitt, 25, who grew up playing rugby in Newport, and is the son of a white Welsh mother and British Jamaican father, said he has had abuse from "children and parents as well, as bad as monkey chants… I must have been 11 or 12 years old.''

Ashton (c) playing for the Dragons Credit: PA

"It wasn't so bad in the city because I grew up in a culturally diverse area", Ashton said.

"We tended to have a lot of games in the Valleys - that's when the real racist remarks would really come out."

When I was younger, it would really get me frustrated and upset but luckily my friends from similar backgrounds understood how I was feeling and what I was going through. It's been a lifelong thing and you just normalise it.

Ashton Hewitt

The wing said racial abuse has happened throughout his life and added that he "normalised it at that age."

It gets past a stage where you think you can beat it and fight everyone who's calling you this or that, but there comes a time where it just gets a bit normal and you start accepting it.

Ashton Hewitt

Hewitt admits that he has experienced some racial "banter" but has never been abused by fans or any opposition players on the pitch.

He told ITV News education in schools is key to eradicating racism in the UK.

It really needs to give that detail around what the British empire did and how they were involved in the slave trade so heavily.

Ashton Hewitt

Hewitt also said he believes society does not celebrate minorities' achievements.

"If people were really equal, I think we'd see a lot more celebration of Black excellence and achievements and at the moment, it's put down to one month," he said.

However, Hewitt is optimistic the world will become a better place as there has never "been momentum like this globally."

"I think there's just so much more education needed and real changes made by institutions to push change and make a difference."

Watch the interview below: