Southampton criticise social media platforms for allowing racial abuse and hatred

Southampton have released a statement criticising social media platforms for not doing enough to stop “abhorrent racial abuse” online, after one of their players again was the subject of racist messages following a match.

A 0-0 draw in the Premier League against Manchester United saw full-back Kyle Walker-Peters targeted by several accounts online, who responded to his last Instagram post with racist messages.

This occasion follows the same situation more than two years ago when, after a match against the same opponents, another Saints player was inundated with abusive messages.

While making it clear they are repulsed by those sending the messages this time around, Saints have now also laid blame at the feet of the social media corporations who have allowed “such hatred to breed and fester”.

The full statement reads:

“In February 2021 the club made a statement about one of our young players receiving abhorrent racial abuse following a match against Manchester United.

“More than two years on, we find ourselves in the exact same position: disgusted and disappointed in the behaviour of those online who lower themselves to abusing players for the colour of their skin.

“What is equally frustrating is the lack of meaningful action in those two years from the social media platforms who allow such hatred to breed and fester.

“As we have said before, Southampton Football Club fights every day to remove such people from our sport and our community in order to protect our players, our staff, Southampton fans and those football supporters around the world who recognise and celebrate the diversity that makes football special.

“We have forwarded the messages concerned to Hampshire Police in keeping with our normal processes when dealing with these cases. We have also reported these posts to the social media platforms involved.

“We can only hope that they finally pay attention to what continues to be a major problem and that we do not find ourselves repeating these words in another two years time.”

Brentford striker Ivan Toney was also sent racist abuse online earlier this month, with the Bees asking “how many times does this need to happen?” after the same player was abused last year, resulting in a 24-year-old man going to court.

In February, Birmingham City issued a statement that a supporter from the home section had been heard racially abusing club striker Troy Deeney and referred the case to authorities, saying they were “appalled and saddened that yet again, one of our players is not safe from discrimination on the football pitch.”

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