Chelsea banned a fan from their stadium for life following an incident during an English Premier League match in December 2018.

The individual was found to have used “racially abusive language and threatening and aggressive behavior” towards Sterling while playing for Manchester City, the club said.

Five other fans were also banned for one to two years for “abusive language and threatening and aggressive behavior”.

However, Sterling says the experience “wasn’t something that concerned me at all” when choosing his new club.

“I can’t let one incident of individuals change my perception of the club,” Sterling told reporters ahead of Chelsea’s game against Tottenham on Sunday, according to Reuters.

“I have no hatred or malice towards the individual,” Sterling added when asked if he would be willing to meet the man banned for life. “It’s something I could do here, now or tomorrow. It’s no problem.”

Sterling completed his move to Chelsea from Manchester City in the summer after winning four league titles at the Etihad.

“True goal”

While excelling on the pitch, the 27-year-old has tried to use his platform to help fight racism and says his ability to help others in society is his “real purpose” away from football.

Following the 2018 racist incident, Sterling uploaded a social media post highlighting the difference in how the media talks about young black players and white players.

He argued that the media played a role in perpetuating racial bias in society, and he has since become something of an unofficial spokesperson for his generation of actors on the issue of equality.

“Of course, football is my main goal and my main talent, but the other thing that gives me the most joy is helping people,” he added.

“I’ve moved away from the racial side and focused more on helping and educating young black people.”

Sterling says a lack of playing time at Manchester City prompted him to join the London club and says he is excited about the opportunity.

Chelsea won their season opener against Everton 1-0 but now face a much tougher test against Tottenham at the weekend.

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