Agreed. Anyone who knows anything about Souness knows that he was incredibly progressive at a time where racism, homophobia and bigotry were the norm. The first black footballer to play for Liverpool used to get racist abuse from his own teammates as well as from the terraces and he wrote in his book that Souness was the only teammate who stuck up for him and took the others to task.
Just googled the story, Tommy Smith seemed a piece of crap.
Making a statement by supporting the minority
Liverpool's first-ever black player, Howard Gayle recalled a harrowing tale of racism he suffered at Melwood
at the hands of club legend Tommy Smith.
"In training, I received the ball, controlled it, and lashed a shot towards goal. Tommy Smith was on the other team and it hit him on the leg. It clearly stung and some of the other players started laughing. Tommy responded with a tirade of abuse. It was ‘black this, black that’.
"The place went quiet. Everybody could hear it, including the staff. He was a legend. I was a nothing. Nobody said a word.
"I’d had enough of him: this bitter old man. So I went over and squared up: nose to nose. I looked at him dead in the eye. “You know what, Tommy; one night you’ll be taking a piss at home and I’ll be there waiting for you with a baseball bat,” I said, calmly. “And then we’ll see what you’ve got to say.” I wanted to start a fight with him. And then he walked away.
"Graeme Souness was the only one that came over in the immediate aftermath. “Well done, Howard,” he said. “Tommy deserved that”. Graeme was a true leader."
To step up in defence of Gayle when no one else was doing the same, and to go against a legend that was Smith must have taken balls of steel - Souness had them.
As a senior member, Souness' support and those few words must have meant the world to Gayle, who was suffering as he was the first player of colour to play at Anfield, and some players could not accept that.