Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on January 31 spoke against the racial abuse directed at football players and termed it “despicable” and called for it to “stop now”. After Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford became the latest target of racial abuse online who he said was “humanity and social media at its worst”, Prince William said that everyone has a responsibility to create an environment that makes abuse intolerable. Following the Saturday’s 0-0 match at Arsenal, the 23-year-old England international had said that he had refused to take screenshots of multiple messages that he had received and said it would be irresponsible to do that.
However, Prince William who is also the president of the Football Association spoke out on Sunday after the Professional Footballers’ Association accused the social media companies of lacking the willingness to clamp down on racist posts. Apart from Rashford that promoted police investigation, his teammates Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial along with Chelsea defender Reece James, West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers have also been subjected to online racial abuse over the past week.
Racist abuse – whether on the pitch, in the stands, or on social media – is despicable and it must stop now. (1/3)
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) January 31, 2021
Prince William wrote, “We all have a responsibility to create an environment where such abuse is not tolerated, and those who choose to spread hate and division are held accountable for their actions. That responsibility extends to the platforms where so much of this activity now takes place.”
“I commend all those players, supporters, clubs and organisations who continue to call out and condemn this abuse in the strongest terms,” he added in a series of tweets.
Professional Footballers’ Association says ‘enough’
In a statement on January 31, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) called out for “stronger interventions on social media” citing the “ spate of disgusting racist abuse aimed at Black professional footballers.” PFA said, “Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial, Romain Sawyers, Reece James and Marcus Rashford should not have to put up with being racially abused because some racist ‘fans’ don’t like the results of a football match. These players are at work, and racist abuse should not be tolerated as part of any profession.”
“We have been very clear that social media platforms are an extension of a professional footballer’s workplace. Every effort must be taken to protect them – and all other users – from racist abuse while using social media. Offline consequences for online hate crimes must be pursued whenever possible,” it said.
Over the past five days, we have seen another spate of disgusting racist abuse aimed at Black professional footballers.
The PFA wants greater use of technology to prevent users from sharing racist abuse.https://t.co/fsvV8AgZQV
— Professional Footballers’ Association (@PFA) January 31, 2021