Phil Neville has called for the football community to “send a powerful message” and boycott social media for six months in response to the rise in racist abuse of players after Paul Pogba was targeted online after missing a penalty for Manchester United at Wolves.
“I’ve lost total faith in whoever runs these social media departments, so I just wonder whether now as a football community, in terms of really sending a powerful message, it is: come off social media,” said the England women’s manager. “Six months – let’s come off social media. Let’s see the effect that it has on these social media companies, whether they’re really going to do something about it.”
Pogba is the third player to suffer online racist abuse after a week in which Tammy Abraham received similar abuse following Chelsea’s Super Cup defeat by Liverpool and the Reading striker Yakou Méïté highlighted messages sent to him following his saved penalty against Cardiff.
In October Neville similarly condemned “absolutely disgraceful” abuse directed at England’s and Chelsea’s Karen Carney following her team’s last-16 Champions League win over Fiorentina. The winger posted screenshots of messages received which included rape threats, death threats and wishing she got cancer. “We talk to them all the time because my players get that kind of abuse all the time, whether it’s racist, sexist or homophobic,” Neville said. “They get that kind of abuse. Nothing gets done about it, but we experienced it earlier in the season.
“It’s not going away. I think there’s some fantastic campaigns, initiatives, messaging that goes out, particularly in the Premier League, through the FA, about trying to stamp out racism. And at times you feel as if you’re making inroads and then you get probably a massive reminder that actually we’re probably not.
“It’s a problem not just in football. It’s a problem in society but football now is at the forefront of everybody’s minds in terms of we’ve got the power to do something about it. I think the football community will. I think we try but it’s getting to the point now where I think we need to make a real strong message, and I say to every single footballer out there, and to every club, and to the PFA: why don’t we make a big stand? Come off social media. Boycott all social media now and see if that makes a big enough impact.” Read More