Neville wants ‘football community’ to boycott social media over racist abuse
Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, Reading’s Yakou Meite and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba have all received vile, racist abuse online after failing to score penalties in the last week.
Pogba’s treatment prompted a rapid response from his club, which issued a strong statement yesterday to condemn the abuse and urge social media companies ‘to take action’.
The French star’s teammates Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard have both tweeted their support, too, while United defender Harry Maguire has suggested that people should only be able to open social media accounts if they provide proof of identity.
England Women’s manager Neville, who played nearly 400 games for United, agrees with Maguire but believes companies like Twitter will only act if they are forced to do so.
“I think we probably have to take drastic measures now as a football community – I’ve had it with my players on social media, the Premier League stars and the Championship have had it,’ said Neville.
“I just wonder whether as a football community we come off social media. Because Twitter won’t do anything about it, Instagram won’t do anything about it – they send you an email reply saying they’ll investigate but nothing happens.
“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so let’s send a powerful message: come off social media (for) six months. Let’s see the effect it has on these social media companies.”
Rashford insisted that any disgusting abuse aimed at Pogba is aimed at the whole squad
“My players get that kind of abuse all the time, whether it’s racist, whether it’s sexist, whether it’s homophobic, they get that kind of abuse,” he said.
“Nothing gets done about it – that’s why I’ve lost faith in social media companies.”
Asked if the football industry should collectively sit down and discuss this with social media companies, Neville said: “Don’t we have that? Don’t we have a task force? The FA are doing everything possible, the Premier League have got campaigns and are doing everything possible.
“We’re plugging holes here and then there are leaks elsewhere, and I’m just focusing on the social media aspect of what Paul went through last night, Tammy last week, my players daily.”
Twitter responded to ‘strongly condemn’ the online abuse aimed at players and revealed it had ‘permanently suspended a series of accounts’.
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