Dragons' Ashton Hewitt calls on those affected by racism to share experiences in push for change

Dragons Rugby player Ashton Hewitt has called on those who have experienced racism to share their experiences in a push to stamp out racial inequalities in sport.

The winger said he has experienced racism throughout his rugby career and believes more diversity and inclusion across sporting organisations is needed to tackle the problem.

It comes after police launched an investigation following a racist social media post that was aimed at Hewitt earlier this year.

The post - containing racist references and mentioning Hewitt - was published on New Year's Day after the Dragons' defeat to the Scarlets in the PRO14.

Hewitt had shared the post in an effort to find who was responsible for it.

In an open letter written as part of the 'Tell Your Story' campaign, which works with five UK sports councils, the 26-year-old said organisations have not been proactive in tackling racism.

He continued: "However, Sport Wales are vowing that they are committed to addressing it. This starts with gaining an understanding of people’s experiences and the barriers they have faced."

In the letter, Hewitt also said he wants to ensure young people entering sport do not have to go through the same negative experience that he did.

"I wasn’t always confident enough to speak up on issues around racism out of fear of 'rocking the boat' and raising an issue that nobody else around me would understand," he said.

"This allowed racism to continue unchecked.

"I also recognised that the number of role models to look up to in my sport weren’t plentiful and as I get older and look past the team, there are a lack of role models throughout entire organisations."

Hewitt grew up playing rugby in Newport and is the son of a white Welsh mother and British Jamaican father.

In June, he told ITV News that he has received abuse from "children and parents, as bad as monkey chants," adding that he "must have been 11 or 12 years old".

During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, he said he had "normalised" receiving racist abuse when he was younger after having to endure it for so long.

Sport Wales said the UK-wide campaign, which has been running for two months, offers a safe space to share experiences of racism in sport, whether as participants, athletes, coaches, volunteers, employees or parents.A series of online forums and interviews have been conducted and shared in a bid to improve understanding of participation and career progression barriers within sport.