Dark Side of Sports and Social Media

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Many people in the states wonder if Donald Trump should remain banned from Twitter while the Taliban continues to Tweet, but overseas where soccer is king, many are waiting for social media companies to do something about the overt racism that takes place against soccer players of color. It is not just racism either, disgusting attacks of LGBTQ players around the world happen every day as well. The most notable attacks were after the Euros when two young players of color missed penalty kicks for England, sparking an array of vile and racist posts to the players' accounts directly.

As first reported by Sky Sports (2021), "Anton Ferdinand, Lianne Sanderson, and Marvin Sordell spoke at a Home Affairs Committee inquiry into online abuse; Ferdinand said social media companies need to act now: "Are they waiting for a high-profile footballer to kill themselves, or a member of their family to commit suicide?" (para. 1).

 

Ferdinand, Sanderson, and Sordell say they are often abused inside the stadium as well.

Black Enterprise on Twitter: "Racist Fans Throw Cups, Shout Racial Slurs at Black Soccer Player https://t.co/Dw27Dw2swr / Twitter"

Racist Fans Throw Cups, Shout Racial Slurs at Black Soccer Player https://t.co/Dw27Dw2swr

 

Sunday Times on Twitter: "Wales captain Gareth Bale has called for countries whose fans are repeat racism offenders to be banned from international soccer after reported abuse towards England's Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham in Budapest on Thursday. https://t.co/C4bxz4aylW / Twitter"

Wales captain Gareth Bale has called for countries whose fans are repeat racism offenders to be banned from international soccer after reported abuse towards England's Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham in Budapest on Thursday. https://t.co/C4bxz4aylW

 

Many of the players during the hearings also expressed the reality that these racists can quickly, and freely, create new profiles and continue the abuse. "You can take down (abusers') profiles but then they can recreate one without even having to go through anything," Sanderson said. Sordell address the committee, as Sky Sports (2021) notes, where he said the issue of this online abuse is getting worse, and the platforms allow people a "free hit" to abuse by inaction and the freedom to create endless amounts of accounts.

SkySportsWSL on Twitter: "🗣 "I think it's better to all come together."Lianne Sanderson told the Home Affairs Select Committee the social media abuse she receives is all too predictable, and believes companies should do more to prevent people from creating fake accounts. pic.twitter.com/AbvTe3Jf0f / Twitter"

🗣 "I think it's better to all come together."Lianne Sanderson told the Home Affairs Select Committee the social media abuse she receives is all too predictable, and believes companies should do more to prevent people from creating fake accounts. pic.twitter.com/AbvTe3Jf0f

 

Sky Sports (2021) concluded their article with a response from Katy Minshall, head of UK public policy and philanthropy at Twitter, who told the reporters, "We've got to a place whereby the end of last season about 95 percent of the abusive posts we were taking down using machine learning. Beyond that, we have partnerships with the clubs, the Football Association, the Premier League, and others so that anything that doesn't get detected they are able to report it directly to our enforcement teams" (para. 6).

If you would like to join the effort to kick out racism from soccer, below is the link.

Online Reporting Form

You can report an incident of discrimination in football - whether it took place online or at a grassroots, non-league or professional game - by filling in the online reporting form below. Visit Kick It Out's 'Other Reporting Methods' page if you prefer to contact us via a different format, including the Kick It Out app - as advertised above.

 

~Michael Patrick Day, Irish Proud & 12oz Sports Writer

 

Reference

Main Article Photo: https://unsplash.com/@stereophototyp

PA Media (2021). Anton Ferdinand: Are social media companies waiting for a footballer's suicide to act on online abuse? Sky Sports. Retrieved https://www.skysports.com/football/news/12040/12402045/anton-ferdinand-are-social-media-companies-waiting-for-a-footballers-suicide-to-act-on-online-abuse

 

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