Should Arsenal Boycott Social Media by Dan Smith
In the same week Roman Abramovich wrote to his Chelsea players promising the club would do more to fight racism, Ian Wright was left asking what we have long pondered on Justarsenal, ‘I can only wonder what deterrent there is for anyone else who spouts this kind of vile racist abuse.’
The Arsenal legend was responding to the news that a judge had ruled ‘nothing would be gained‘ by sending a racist to jail.
When an 18-year-old openly admits to sending 20 racial messages to a stranger (including wishing death on Wright) and just walks away from court, then England can no longer say they have zero tolerance to discrimination.
The teenager’s lawyer’s explanation that his client deserved remorse because grades showed he has a bright future makes me sick.
I’m not sure anyone who sends the words he did, based on losing on FIFA, should be implied as intelligent. I would much rather every student get an E but be a decent human compared to being intellectual and a racist.
That’s the point, this young man will go to university, open another social media account and will have people protecting his identity (the way his face was being hidden from the cameras you would think he was the victim).
It’s Wright who has got to live with the abuse and just accept it.
Yet this weekend the majority of clubs will take a knee, and say ‘black lives matter’ just to look good.
Sky Sports will get various sports people to say ‘I’m in’ to give the positive image that they are committed to kicking out racism.
All empty gestures that mean nothing.
In fact it’s offensive to Ian Wright, Rashford, Reece James and others who are being abused on social media, to then hear and read their profession acting like they are trying to fight the problem when they do nothing
I would rarely compliment how Chelsea run their football club, but their owner choosing racism as a topic to make a rare statement about gives slight hope. He’s said to be disgusted by the tweet James was sent and has instructed his board to make an action plan.
What makes the Russian different from other talking heads who give lip service to the problem, is he’s so rich he has the power to make the Premiership listen. As a billionaire he has the resources to order those at the Bridge to do more than just a knee to tick a PR box.
Even if the FA or Premier league disagreed with his approach, are they going to have the gumption to challenge one the most influential names in English Football for nearly two decades?
The question is what can he do and preferably what could other owners of clubs do?
I read an idea the other day and thought this was the closest way to enforce change. Like most things it involves a company reacting if they lose money.
What if every time a player was attacked on the internet Clubs boycotted social media for a week, a month, however long? Yes, clubs would be hurting their own revenue streams by not being on Facebook or Twitter, but zero tolerance is zero tolerance.
I like to think by Abramovich’s letter that his players welfare is more important than money (not that he speaks for his peers).
Clubs have in house channels and players as individuals who make a lot of money for the likes of Facebook. Look how Ozil was his own brand online.
Imagine if Messi and Ronaldo (two of the most trended sports people in the world) suddenly told Twitter and Facebook they would be shutting down accounts. Imagine the bad PR if Messi informed the world, he was on a strike due to Facebook not taking racism seriously?
That’s how you get companies to act.
Because social media is just as guilty as football for not acting when things happen under their watch.
Over the last few weeks a worrying trend has become the norm.
Morons (I refuse to call them fans) think it’s acceptable to racially abuse a human being if they deem that he or she hasn’t played well.
These are cowards who take football way too seriously, hiding behind their computers knowing they wouldn’t dare say these vile words to a person’s face. The question is, why let these cowards hide behind a screen?
For too many years the likes of Mark Zuckerberg has made too many excuses why his platform can’t provide better security checks for users.
Have you ever noticed you might type something in a message (or – I swear – even say something on the phone) and magically advertisements are popping up of the very item you might have been referring too?
So of course if they really wanted to, they could screen every account (no different to online betting). It might have something to do with the business worth over 500 billion? Why change a model that is making money?
Again though Facebook and Twitter can’t claim zero tolerance if they don’t act. It’s hard to totally judge any genre. How can we expect sport to have zero tolerance if the law makers in this country allow someone who admits to racism, to just walk away?
We are therefore relying on someone to step up and be the inspirational crusader that you find every few decades.
I think we have had enough of a society who accept if nothing changes, things will stay the same.
What do you think of the idea of Arsenal boycotting social media in protest to racism online?
Be kind in the comments