Premier League players to boycott social media in racism protest

Tanya Simon
April 22, 2019

Professional footballers in England and Wales are to boycott social media for 24 hours on Friday, to protest against the way social networks and football authorities respond to racism.

Rashford's Manchester United temmate Jesse Lingard has also taken part in the boycott - organised by the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) in England - along with Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and a number of other Premier League players.

The players' union says when racist abuse was reported on Friday the "response from social networks was - again - unacceptable".

In response, Chris Smalling, a fellow United defender said that, "Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse, as in most cases, it was justified as just a "part of the game" but the time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels".

This has also made its way to social media, with more and more instances of players being subjected to vile abuse due to their ethnicity. "We all have. That's why, as players, we are coming together on Friday to say that more must now be done to eradicate racism from our game". "We will collate it and share it with social platforms to demonstrate the impact of their lack of action", it added.

"Football has a problem with racism".

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England and Tottenham defender Danny Rose is looking forward to the end of his career because of the amount of racist abuse he has suffered over the years.

One of those targeted, full-back Danny Rose, said afterwards he could not wait to turn his "back on football". Any racism in football is too much, and it's essential that we fight it wherever and whenever we see it. The company said it "introduced over 70 changes to make the service safer, including investment in better machine learning technology to help us proactively limit the spread of abusive content".

Watford striker Troy Deeney - who blocked replies to his Instagram account earlier this month after receiving abuse - summed up the anger he and fellow footballers feel, saying: "Enough is enough".

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"The boycott is just one small step, but the players are speaking out within one voice against racism", Deeney said. "We will do all we can to put an end to the abuse players face on the pitch and online". "We want to see social media companies take proper responsibility for racist abuse on their platforms and we want them to find solutions". Despite several actions taken by Federation Internationale de Football Association, players have been routinely subjected to racist abuse from the stands as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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