Duke of Cambridge: Football Association president calls for end to racist abuse against footballers

Marcus Rashford played Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal on Saturday

The Duke of Cambridge has called for an end to racist abuses targeting footballers, calling them “despicable”.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was the last player to be racially abused this weekend after a string of incidents.

Greater Manchester Police opened an investigation into the abuse on Sunday.

And write on twitterexternal linkPrince William, who is also president of the Football Association, praised those who spoke.

He said: “Racist abuse – whether on the pitch, in the stands or on social media – is vile and must stop now.

“We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hatred and division are held accountable for their actions. This responsibility extends to platforms where much of this activity is now taking place.

“I congratulate all the players, supporters, clubs and organizations who continue to call and condemn these abuses in the strongest terms.”

The abuse targeting Rashford on Saturday follows similar treatment from teammates Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial.

“A number of these comments have been brought to our attention and we are in contact with those involved to lend our support and we will thoroughly investigate these crimes,” he added. a statement from the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.external link

Rashford described the abuse as “humanity and social media at their worst.”

The 23-year-old, who received the MBE for his work in the fight against child food poverty, received several racist messages on Instagram on Saturday.

They were sent to the England striker after United’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal.

“I am a black man and I live proud of it every day” he said on Twitter.external link

“No one, or any comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction you just weren’t going to get it here.

“I don’t share screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine, they are nothing original.

“I have beautiful children of all colors who follow me and they don’t need to read it. Beautiful colors that should only be celebrated.”

‘Social media companies are not vigilant enough’ – Wright and Jenas react after Rashford suffered racist abuse

GMP said they were aware that a number of Manchester United players suffered abuse on social media between Wednesday and Saturday.

They added, “No one should be subjected to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only for those who suffer from it, but also for anyone who comes across this horrible language.

“These hateful words have no place in our society, whether online or otherwise.”

Facebook, owner of Instagram, also released a statement after Rashford’s abuse. He said: “We have taken action in this matter by removing accounts and comments and are continuing to investigate.”

“Be nice and be good humans”

Karen Carney, who won 144 caps in England, deleted his Twitter account in January following online abuse she received after a Leeds United tweet questioned her comments as an expert.

BBC Radio 5 Live expert Carney, 33, said the abuse sports figures received were “gruesome and brutal”.

“If you don’t tell someone in the face, don’t say it on social media and hide behind a platform,” Carney said. “It’s really upsetting and we have to do something, especially with a pandemic. It’s really difficult right now.

“I would just like to urge people to be kind and to be good humans. People who receive this bothers and upsets them.

“People posting on social media would see Marcus Rashford and ask for a photo. He’s a human being and what I love about him is that he didn’t.

“Anyone abused, if they say something in return [online] they get 10 times more abuse. We are urging the government to do something because it is more than a joke. I worry about people’s mental health. “

Speaking in the match of the day, former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright said authorities and social media companies need to do more to identify the perpetrators.

He said: “It seems like it’s a fact if a black player plays badly – or thinks they did – it comes with all the emojis and the like. There are ways to catch people. They are not vigilant enough – nowhere nearby.

“It should be something they do hand in hand [authorities and social media sites]. But how much do they care deep down? “

Former Tottenham, Newcastle and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas added: “The platforms, I need them to show me these people and say they are doing whatever they can to do justice. For those wondering why we always take the knee, here it goes. “

Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha felt people on social media were “energized” to post abuse because social media companies were not doing enough to stop him.

“When it happened to Axel Tuanzebe you think it’s a big talking point and nothing can happen like this anymore, but something is happening over and over again,” Onuoha said on BBC Radio 5 Live .

“Groups of people feel energized and can start over and say whatever they want. We rely on the tech giants to solve a situation that they themselves have created.

“Some people go there anonymously and think they can say anything, whether it’s about race or sexuality and that’s totally unacceptable. How do you monitor a billion people on social media?

“The things that are said are a shame and I want change. A lot of people want change and we need change, but until there is that level of responsibility people will feel energetic to say what they want.”

PFA calls to protect players

The players’ union, the Association of Professional Footballers (PFA), said action should have been taken sooner.

“The players have raised this issue publicly on several occasions and the abuse persists,” a statement from the PFA said. “While none of us have the power to root racism out of society, social media companies need to do our part and eliminate it from their platforms – over which they have control.

“Sufficient time has been given to the networks to demonstrate their willingness to act. We have been in crisis with this problem for two years. Racism causes trauma and online abuse poses a significant risk to the mental health and well-being of individuals.

“Last week we met Cabinet ministers to discuss discrimination in football with players sharing firsthand accounts of their experiences of racist abuse online.

“As a result of the meeting, the government pledged to introduce new online abuse laws and launch a fan-led review of football governance. While we welcome these measures, find a way to protect players from ongoing racist abuse can not wait. “

The Football Association reiterated its commitment to crack down on discrimination of all kinds earlier on Saturday.

“We are united with all football in our aversion to any racist abuse,” read a statement from the FA. “It is not acceptable in any part of society.

“We will continue to work with the rest of the game, government and social media platforms to remove this – and all elements of – discrimination from our sport.”

Friday Chelsea said he was “disgusted” after right-back Reece James suffered racist abuse on social media.

Saturday one the man was arrested after a racist message was sent to West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers.

Tuanzebe and Martial were racially abused on social media after Manchester United’s loss to Sheffield United on Wednesday.

The PFA statement added: “In the past five days we have witnessed another wave of disgusting racial abuse targeting black professional footballers.

“Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial, Romain Sawyers, Reece James and Marcus Rashford shouldn’t have to endure racist abuse because some ‘fans’ don’t like the results of a football match. These players are at work and the Racist abuse should not be tolerated in the context of a profession.

“We have been very clear that social media platforms are an extension of a professional footballer’s workplace. Every effort should be made to protect them – and all other users – from racist abuse during of the use of social media.

“The offline consequences of online hate crimes should be pursued wherever possible. “

Monday, the UK government has held talks with current and former footballers on the fight against discrimination and abuse.

A Facebook spokesperson said on Friday: “There is no room for racism on Instagram and we are committed to removing it when we find it. We know there is more to do and we will continue. to work closely with football clubs, players and authorities, to investigate cases of discrimination and collectively tackle this problem.

Twitter said in a statement, “Racist behavior has no place on our service and when we identify accounts that violate any of Twitter’s rules, we take enforcement action.

“We have proactively engaged and continue to work with our valued football partners to identify ways to collectively tackle this issue and will continue to play our part to tackle this unacceptable behavior – both online and offline. “

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