Uk News Social media is privilege not a right - and racism threatens football's place within it United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Swansea have taken the club off social media for seven days as a protest against online racist abuse of their players
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Just another week in the grim, one-sided battle between footballers and anonymous abusers on social media platforms.Rangers’ Glen Kamara spoke of his weariness at receiving racist messages every single day since Rangers played Slavia Prague.Liverpool condemned the racism directed at Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane following the defeat to Real Madrid.i's fantasy football tips newsletter: get aheadEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.Brentford’s Ivan Toney spoke out for the second time in four months about the treatment he receives on Instagram. Read More Valencia tell Juan Cala ‘we don’t believe you’ as Cadiz defender denies racist insult towards Mouctar Diakhaby The sheer volume of anecdotal evidence can threaten desensitisation – yet another black professional football being targeted with monkey emojis and abhorrent words – but they should not and we cannot let that happen.The “oxygen of publicity” argument, that these reprehensible people are seeking a reaction and delighting in getting one, loses its weight because the delivery of their hate is so personal.Players are being gradually, systematically broken by hatred. We owe it to them to tell every story and never stop.Words have finally been followed by overdue, tepid action. The account that sent abuse to Toney was suspended indefinitely.But it is relentless and we are drowning; a hundred more will spring up and the perpetrator is highly unlikely to face legal penalty.Social media companies can certainly do more, but there is a depressing belief that, ultimately, the problem is impossible to stamp out because too few factored in the landscape-altering popularity of such platforms.Pandora’s Box has been opened and there’s a good chance you’ll find an odious t__t ready to climb out of it.Football’s recent approach to racism has often been performative, if well-intentioned. The “taking a knee” initiative was initially powerful and raised awareness through mass televisation, but some players of colour have questioned whether performative gestures allow those responsible for eradicating racism to subconsciously self-congratulate that their work is even half done.This is not an issue that football can solve alone, but it is an issue on which football can choose to lead and campaign. And perhaps more meaningful action is coming. Last week, Thierry Henry stated that he would be suspending his social media accounts in response to the toxic atmosphere he had experienced.On Thursday, Swansea City announced that all players (senior and academy) staff and affiliated official club accounts would boycott Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok for seven days. Three of the club’s players – Jamal Lowe, Yan Dhanda and Ben Cabango – have spoken about the racist abuse they receive. It’s tempting to be a little dismissive of any boycott as itself a performative gesture, but that seems misplaced here.
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.More important is the message sent to Swansea City supporters, who will not be able to get live updates, team news and interviews via their usual channels. Perhaps it might allow them a moment of reflection and create unity with those players who have suffered.Social media’s original intention was to provide a universality of social interaction. Fans could interact with their heroes on the same level and football clubs were enthused by the thought: closer unity leads to greater loyalty that is likely to increase merchandising and matchday revenue. But the universality of that relationship is a privilege, not a right. It depends upon the decency of both parties and, when that decency is not honoured, the reason for the relationship’s existence evaporates.If that’s a case of the tiny minority spoiling things for the majority, so what? Maybe that will induce greater scrutiny and punishment of that minority. If this becomes a movement and share prices start to drop at Twitter and Facebook, we really might welcome redoubled efforts.Swansea’s boycott is particularly important because it is a community initiative that encompasses not just those who have suffered racist abuse online but those who haven’t. That’s a simple point, but a crucial one. It is not enough to ask or expect those who have been subject to abuse to alter their behaviour alone – that becomes a form of victim-blaming that would represent a victory only for those who sought to slur them. Instead, everyone at the club is deliberately standing together. But Swansea City must not be alone; they are only one club and are only a Championship club. The power of community is established through a consistent, continuous snowball effect: Swansea’s players and staff supported Lowe, Dhanda and Cabango, other league clubs support Swansea, clubs in other countries join English clubs. If Manchester United and Liverpool did the same, it really might force the hand of social media platforms. We’re all understandably predisposed towards disappointment because the problem of social media racism feels both personal and yet entirely intangible. The nature and the size of the task feels like holding back a tide of rancorous sewage. But that does mean that we should not try. Will this change anything? Maybe not. Might it start something? That’s a far more hopeful question.Daniel Storey’s i football column is published in print and online on Friday mornings. You can follow him on Twitter @danielstorey85More from Daniel StoreyThe Premier League schedule is a mess that could have been avoidedGiroud is his own worst enemy – too good and too nice for Chelsea to let go Project ‘Bigger’ Picture: An alternative vision for the future of English footballLiverpool have become complacent and Klopp has to find the root causeThe FA should punish Covid rule-breakers – apologies are not enough
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