Professional footballers in England are being encouraged by the PFA to boycott social media for 24 hours in protest against the racial abuse being suffered by some of their members.
The players’ union have moved to support stars like Danny Rose, Ashley Young and Raheem Sterling in a bid to combat the problem while calling on social media companies to take more responsibility.
A campaign created by staff at the PFA and entitled #Enough will begin with calls for the boycott from 9am on Friday and will be the first of a number of initiatives.
Raheem Sterling’s defiant celebration has become iconic in the fight against racism in football
‘#Enough’ is a campaign where players are being asked to boycott social media for 24 hours
Danny Rose was the subject of racist abuse against Montenegro while playing for England
The PFA on Thursday issued a press release evening with players like Rose, Wes Morgan and Chris Smalling supporting the cause.
It was only this week, after Manchester United’s Champions League defeat by Barcelona, that Smalling’s Old Trafford team-mate, Young, was subjected to disgusting abuse.
And while not all the players have added their signatures to the press release, the PFA believe Sterling will be among those who come off social media on Friday.
Ashley Young became the latest footballer to be racially abused online on Tuesday night
One Twitter user called on Young to ‘retire young you f***ing n*****’, others called him an ‘ape’
A statement from the PFA’s Manchester headquarters said: ‘Over the last few months, both domestically and internationally, there have been a number of high-profile racist incidents directed at players. The boycott acts as a show of unity by the players, and a call for stronger action to be taken by social networks and footballing authorities in response to racist abuse both on and off the pitch.’
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling said:
‘Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse, justifying it as just ‘part of the game’ but the time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels, taking responsibility for protecting the mental health of users regardless of age, race, sex or income.
‘I understand that I am in an extremely privileged position and I am deeply thankful for that but, at the end of the day, we are all human. As a patron of a youth education charity it is my duty to use my platform as a voice for all, regardless of background. We have to take a greater stand against discrimination of all kinds.’
Chris Smalling: ‘Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse’
Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose said:
‘When I said that I can’t wait to see the back of football, it is because of the racism that I, and many other players, have been subjected to our entire careers.
‘Football has a problem with racism.
‘I don’t want any future players to go through what I’ve been through in my career. Collectively, we are simply not willing to stand-by while too little is done by football authorities and social media companies to protect players from this disgusting abuse.’
Danny Rose: ‘Football has a problem with racism…we are simply not willing to stand-by’
Watford captain Troy Deeney said:
‘My team-mates and I have been on the receiving end of well-documented abuse from a minority of narrow-minded, ignorant people both on social media and on the pitch. Any racism in football is too much, and it’s essential that we fight it wherever and whenever we see it.
‘On Friday we are sending a message to anyone that abuses players – or anyone else – whether from the crowd or online, that we won’t tolerate it within football.
‘The boycott is just one small step, but the players are speaking out with one voice against racism – enough is enough.’
Troy Deeney: ‘Players are speaking out with one voice against racism – enough is enough’
Arsenal forward Danielle Carter said:
‘Football is more popular than it has ever been, but we have a discontented generation of players who won’t stand for racist abuse any longer. Enough is enough.
‘We want to see social media companies take proper responsibility for racist abuse on their platforms and we want them to find solutions.’
Danielle Carter (right): ‘We have players who won’t stand for racist abuse any longer’
Leicester City captain Wes Morgan said:
‘While there has been progress in the battle against racism within football, there are still far too many instances of players being abused.
‘I’ve heard it in the stands and I’ve seen it online. 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.’
Leicester captain Wes Morgan: ‘There are still too many instances of players being abused’
Wycombe Wanderers striker Adebayo Akinfenwa said:
‘England players being abused, and instances of racism in European competitions and Premier League matches have been in the news over the last few months. I’m glad that we are paying attention to the terrible treatment players suffer.
‘Further down the professional leagues in England, the situation can often be far worse. These players must never be forgotten about.
‘I am pleased that players from all levels are taking a stand, and this boycott is an important first step. But, it’s essential that it is just the start, and that the campaign truly takes the fight to football associations, social media companies and clubs. I will continue to work with my teammates, colleagues and the PFA to say enough is enough.’
Adebayo Akinfenwa (right): ‘Further down the leagues, the situation can often be far worse’