Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has become the latest football player to receive racist abuse online and described the incident as “humanity and social media at its worst.”
The 23-year-old, who recently received an MBE in recognition of his campaign to feed vulnerable children during the pandemic, posted a series of messages on Twitter after receiving abuse on his social media platforms on Saturday.
“Yes I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am. No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different,” he wrote, after helping his side to a goalless draw against Arsenal on Saturday.
“So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it here.
“I’m not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there’s nothing original in them.
“I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated.”
It comes just days after several other Premier League players received such abuse on their social media accounts.
Chelsea said it was “disgusted” by racism directed at defender Reece James on Friday while Rashford’s teammates Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were targeted online last week, with a number of racist comments and symbols appearing on old photos on Instagram.
Police also arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of racially abusing West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers on Friday.
READ: Football’s fight against racism and discrimination is only just beginning
Calls for action
English football’s governing body, The FA, had previously said it stood “united with all of football in our abhorrence of any racist abuse” and promised to continue working with authorities to remove all forms of discrimination from the sport.
Premier League teams have been taking a knee before every league match this season as a show of solidarity but there are now calls for more action.
Both players and clubs have urged social media companies to do more in fighting racism on their platforms – a problem highlighted yet again by the recent spate of incidents.
On Friday, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said he was “appalled” by the recent spate of incidents and said the league would continue supporting players and their families.
“We are in regular dialogue with social media companies, challenging them to do more against discriminatory abuse on their platforms,” Masters said.
“We want to see swifter removal of offensive messages and improved identification and banning of offenders.”
CNN reached out to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram regarding the latest incidents but none was immediately available for comment.
Last year, Facebook and Instagram announced they would set up a team to fight racism on their platforms and assess racial bias in their algorithms.
“Racism is not tolerated on Facebook and Instagram,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN after similar incidents in 2020.
“When we find content that breaks our guidelines we will remove it and we will ban those who repeatedly break the rules.”
Last week, the UK government also met with former and current players to discuss tackling discriminatory abuse online.