Football & Equality?AbsoluteLee.


My Story

I’m Jason Lee. An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practitioner and former professional footballer who spent more than 20 years on the pitch and another ten working to address discrimination across the industry.

When I played in the 90s, racist abuse of professional footballers was overt and unrelenting, and it’s still frustratingly common. I’m sure all my Black and Mixed Heritage peers have their own stories to tell about the racism they encountered while playing. For me, that involved being regularly racially insulted on mainstream television by two of the country’s biggest comedians. The impact of this meant I had to navigate constant microaggressions and abuse, which continue to this day.

The experience made me want to prevent anyone else going through similar things and was the catalyst of my commitment to a career addressing racism and discrimination.

As a player, I’m probably best known for my three seasons with Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, but there were also a number of other clubs that contributed to my development throughout my 20-year playing career across the EFL. I also had a stint as player manager at Boston United in 2011, before finally hanging up my boots for good.

Following Community Lead and Academy Coaching roles at Forest, I joined the Professional Footballer’s Association as an Equalities and Education Executive in 2013. Here, I help players fulfil their potential beyond football and empower them to better understand and report discrimination. I also offer support throughout the legal and disciplinary process for players who experience discriminatory abuse.

I was a key figure in the PFA’s Enough campaign and their groundbreaking study into Racial Bias In Football Commentary. Following the study, I helped facilitate an Avoiding Racial Bias workshop for sports journalists and broadcasters, in conjunction with BBC Sport.

In 2014, I graduated from the PFA’s On The Board programme and soon put my governance training to good use, with appointments to Nottingham Forest’s Community Trust Board in 2016 and The FA Women’s Board a year later.

Now I’m taking my work a step further

I'm using my expertise and experience to help organisations improve how they approach and implement Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. I give organisation-wide talks and deliver workshops. I also discuss pressing EDI issues with guests from across sport and music in my podcast, AbsoluteLee.


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