Man Utd condemn ‘mindless idiots’ who sent Tuanzebe and Martial racist abuse
Manchester United have condemned the “mindless idiots” who racially abused Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial on social media and have called for stronger measures “to prevent this kind of behaviour”. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men fell to a shock 2-1 loss to the Premier League’s bottom side Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
That defeat sparked a torrent of online abuse aimed at United’s players, including racist abuse aimed at defender Tuanzebe, who inadvertently turned home Oliver Burke’s winner, and forward Martial.
Racist terms and monkey emojis were put on Instagram comments of the pair’s most recent posts.
United said in a club statement: “Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse received by players via social media after last night’s game.
“We utterly condemn it and it is encouraging to see other fans condemn this on social media also.
“Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our All Red All Equal initiative.
“Identifying these anonymous mindless idiots remains problematic. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.”
Tuanzebe shared the club’s ‘United Against Racism’ post via Instagram Stories as he posted on social media for the first time since the sickening night of abuse.
Marcus Rashford, Fred and Brandon Williams were among the United players to post on social media in support of their team-mates.
United captain Harry Maguire wrote on Twitter alongside a picture of the players taking a knee: “UNITED against racism. We will not tolerate it.”
Midfielder Scott McTominay posted a photo of Tuanzebe with a crown on his head alongside a heart emoji as well as black and white fists, saying: “My brother – disgusted with what I have read this morning.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association said the racist abuse aimed at Tuanzebe and Martial was “disgraceful and unacceptable”.
The body said: “These abusive Instagram posts are another example of discriminatory online abuse of players, and it cannot be allowed to continue.
“Where possible, the PFA advises any player who receives online abuse to press charges. We want perpetrators to be held accountable for their online behaviour.
“The accounts of those sending the messages must be banned. Their details need to be provided to the appropriate authorities to take further action.
“Systemic racism causes trauma, and footballers are not immune by virtue of their profession. Player’s mental health can be affected by racial abuse and the impact of wider racial prejudice in society.”
Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, labelled the abuse “completely unacceptable”.
Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said: “We are disappointed that players are continuing to be subject to racist abuse on their social platforms, it is completely unacceptable.
“We will continue to work with the football authorities, law enforcement and social media companies to try and rid football of hateful and discriminatory behaviour.
“As we have said before, online hate must have real-life consequences, so people don’t continue to spread hate as freely as they wish. The individuals responsible for this abuse will hopefully be identified by the social media platforms and swiftly removed.
“We know that discriminatory abuse can have significant real world impact on the welfare of the victims. We encourage the players to get such support from their club in the first instance, and support is also available from the PFA and Kick It Out.”
Earlier this month Kick It Out convened a meeting between a range of football, media and law enforcement organisations and social media companies to discuss how to tackle online hate.
The topic of discrimination and abuse was also subject of a virtual call led by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston this week as part of the Government’s discussions on the ‘Future of Football’.
Jordan Henderson, Karen Carney, Tyrone Mings, Paul Elliott and Anton Ferdinand were among those involved in a meeting called by ministers in which they laid out the bill due to come before Parliament in 2021.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said the law “will require tech firms to take action so that what is unacceptable in the street and in stands, is unacceptable online too”.
Culture Secretary Dowden said: “To hear players talk about the level of abuse they have faced was humbling.
“Their input today has strengthened my resolve to bring in new laws to ensure there is much greater accountability from the social media platforms for dealing with such problems.
“As we shape the ‘Future of Football’ and look towards our football governance review, we must tackle issues around discrimination and lack of equality of opportunity head on. I am grateful to this group of players for sharing their experiences and expertise to help the Government’s work.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub