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'The Sun' Used the Deaths of Two Teenagers to Have a Dig at a Footballer

A real classy move.

Two teenagers were fatally stabbed this weekend, and The Sun used their deaths to make a bizarre dig at Premier League footballer Raheem Sterling.

The paper has been waging a strange campaign against Sterling over the last couple of years, along with many other British tabloids. As pointed out by a couple of Twitter users, The Sun in particular seems to have taken an intense dislike to the Manchester City midfielder, publishing various stories criticising him for such inexcusable offences as "earning a lot of money" and "shopping at Primark".


The paper's latest attack is today's front page: a photograph of Sterling's new leg tattoo – a gun – under the heading "Raheem shoots himself in the foot".

In the accompanying front page article, we hear from anti-gun campaigner Lucy Cope, who says, "He's supposed to be a role model but chooses to glamorise guns." Sterling has since explained his reasons for getting the tattoo, which have little to do with glamourising guns. "When I was two my father died from being gunned down to death," he wrote on Instagram. "I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning."

Which: fine. Fair enough. A man got a tattoo some people didn't like, but it's fair to say he didn't do anything nearly as terrible as The Sun is trying to make out.

Photo: VICE

What is truly terrible is The Sun's decision to use the deaths of two teenagers to drive their nonexistent point home. This weekend, 15-year-old Samuel Baker was stabbed to death in Sheffield, and 17-year-old Louis-Ryan Menedes died after being stabbed in the chest in Northampton.

Clearly, neither of these deaths had anything to do with a footballer getting a tattoo, and the tattoo has nothing to do with knife crime. Still, that didn't stop The Sun from opening their story about the deaths with the sentence: "Two more teenagers were killed over the weekend as Sterling revealed his controversial gun tattoo."

Understandably, all this has provoked a number of responses on social media.

Poet and journalist Musa Okwonga tweeted, "The Sun and the Daily Mail seem to take it almost in turns [to] go after Raheem Sterling, apparently for no reason other than he is black and successful," while Gary Lineker has spent the day rebuffing Piers Morgan's apparent outrage over the tattoo.

Dodgy editorial decisions are nothing new for The Sun, of course, but they've really outdone themselves here.