Leeds United worker racially abused while on the bus

Rod Christopher was racially abused on a bus in Leeds.Rod Christopher was racially abused on a bus in Leeds.
Rod Christopher was racially abused on a bus in Leeds.
A Leeds-based professional football coach has spoken of his upset after being called a 'black b*****d' while getting off a bus.

Rod Christopher was on his way home from the city centre, after a night out with friends, when he was racially abused by a passenger.

-> Meet the Leeds butcher who delivers Tyson Fury's 24 stone of pork, beef and lamb"I was sat downstairs at the back, after getting on in town," said Mr Christopher, who works as a coach for Leeds United. "I noticed a man across from me who looked drunk and half asleep.

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"I was browsing my phone, minding my own business, but when he woke up I could feel his eyes staring. I just knew he was going to say something and cause trouble by his angry look.

A First bus on New Briggate.A First bus on New Briggate.
A First bus on New Briggate.

"I walked down the isle to get off and clearly heard him shout 'You black b*****d'," added Mr Christopher, who has also coached at Manchester United and Bobby Charlton Soccer schools in a career spanning 18 years.

"His abuse was totally unprovoked and he seemed to be spoiling for a confrontation from the moment he laid eyes on me.

"Nobody said anything to him," he added. "I don't think the driver heard either, as his focus was on parking safely, with a loud bus engine.

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"I was obviously disgusted at what I heard, but decided to just exit the bus and move on. But the next day I shared the incident on social media and the support from all over the world was fantastic and heart warming.

"I have lived in Leeds my whole life and grew up in Seacroft. It's been well over 20 years since I've been subjected to such abuse."

-> Leeds woman stole £17k of veterinary drugs and sold them on eBayPosting about the incident on his Twitter account, he said: "Racists feel far more emboldened in 2019. Pathetic."

Mr Christopher feels the current political atmosphere and crude rhetoric, brought about by Donald Trump and the divisive nature of Brexit has in large, has helped legitimise racist language in public.

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Mr Christopher informed First Bus about the incident, but did not report it to the police.

A spokesman for the bus provider confirmed the incident had been reported to them.

The spokesman added: "Although our drivers can’t physically intervene in such circumstances, any customers who have concerns on-bus can ask the driver to call for assistance"