Racist abuse against football players is still something that football associations, governments, and society have failed to completely embrace human diversity and respect for different human races in the football arena.
Following the recently concluded Euros tournament of 2021, England fans from all over showed their reactions. A number of fans exhibited their happiness and content following the game’s results while others were angered by the results and took their anger against players who failed to deliver during the penalty shoot-out.
Angry fans took to social media platforms where they aired racist comments against Marcus, Bukayo, and Sancho.
However, for some like Gareth Southgate, England Manager, he felt that such a reaction from the fans was unforgivable. Speaking to the press, he said that he was disappointed that the majority of these racial comments came from England citizens.
According to him, the England national team has tried their best to bring their citizen together. Adding that through all the matches they play against other countries, England had shown good performances ever been played at Wembley stadium.
He further added that the players have always shown a good example of togetherness and fight against racism as they have always taken the knee before and after their matches to show their unity. But surprisingly some fans shared a different perspective on this and booed while the team was kneeling.
Nonetheless, the team got support from the law enforcement agencies. United Kingdom prime minister, Johnson Boris condemned the act through his Twitter handle that the England team deserved to have been showered with praises rather than the discrimination comments.
However, Gary Neville, well known English Football pundit commentator, took a long time to respond considering that he had already been asked to comment on the matter earlier. He blamed the government of Boris for being reluctant to end football racism in England.
Gary said that whatever problem the team is facing does not only begin from the fans but rather from the top. Prince William and the football association of England were not left behind either as they also took to social media to show their support to the team.
England team has shown their commitment to fighting these bad habits among some of their fans.
Marcus Rashford recently tweeted regarding the comments. He says that he is not surprised because he has always been on the spot for his skin complexion, where he was raised, and how he always spends his free time.
However, Rashford upholds his pride and he is not sorry for being who he is. Despite Marcus’s painting being torn into pieces he still got support from other fans especially from where he grew up. They see him as a good example and inspiration to them.
The messages from this particular group of people were particularly overwhelming to Rashford that he was almost on the verge of breaking down. It is from these messages that he drew some positive energy. It was comforting to know that some fans still look up to him and this made him more proud of his origin.
It has been noted that it is not the first time players experience social media racism. Former Arsenal player Thierry Henry was in the limelight for his skin color to the extent that he deleted his social media account. This raised concerns from different football associations that they took to extreme measures of going to the streets for three days.
Most people have expressed their dissatisfaction with how social media platforms have not put enough mechanisms to detect and remove racial comments whenever they landed on their websites.
Julia Knight of the digital, culture, media and sports committee chair said that they always try their best to remove the comments as soon as they are altered.
Facebook which owns Instagram where some comments were posted went ahead to defend itself by saying that they are dedicated and committed to ensuring community safety on social media is upheld by all users.
Further on Facebook continued to state that they are concerned with the matter and they are looking into it.
On the Other hand, Twitter took immediate action against perpetrators of racial abuse by taking down their comments and suspending their accounts. In a statement they man, that was part of many actions they are taking to anyone who is not promoting cultural diversity.
Racism had been described on social media abuse to black players as the “biggest problem” in football and says its impact “cannot be underestimated”. As a result of racism, unity is becoming a problem affecting those in football and outside the football arena. Its defeat depends on how we embrace human diversity.