Greater Manchester Police investigating abuse aimed at Manchester United players

Rashford played out a 0-0 draw with Manchester United at Arsenal on Saturday.

Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation following reports of abuse of Manchester United players on social media last week.

Marcus Rashford became the latest player to suffer racial abuse, following similar treatment from teammates Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial.

Some of these comments have been brought to our attention and we are in contact with those affected to provide support. We will thoroughly investigate these crimes, GMP said in a statement.

Rashford described abuse as the worst thing about humanity and social media.

The 22-year-old, who was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his work fighting food poverty among children, received several racist messages on Instagram on Saturday.

They were sent to the England striker after United’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal.

I’m black and I live every day with pride in who I am, he said in a Twitter feed.

No one, not even a comment, will make me feel any different. So I’m sorry, if you needed a strong response, you won’t get it here.

I’m not going to post screenshots. That would be irresponsible and, as you can imagine, there is nothing original about it.

I have great kids of all colors following me around, and they don’t need to read this. Beautiful colors that should only be celebrated.

Social media companies are not vigilant enough – Wright and Janas react after Rashford is targeted in racist violence

The GMP said it was aware that a number of Manchester United players had been victims of abuse on social media between Wednesday and Saturday.

They added: No one should be subjected to such abuses, and this is deeply troubling not only to the individuals involved, but to all who are confronted with this abhorrent language.

These hateful words have no place in our society, online or otherwise.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, also issued a statement in response to Rashford’s abuse. He said: We have taken action in this matter by deleting the accounts and comments and we are continuing the investigation.

Being good and being a good person

Karen Carney, who won 144 caps for England, deleted her Twitter account in January after a Leeds United tweet questioned her statements as a specialist.

Pandit Karni, 33, told Radio 5 Live that the insults received by sports personalities were appalling and brutal.

If you don’t say it in front of someone, you shouldn’t talk about it on social media and hide behind a platform, Carney said. It is very frustrating and we need to do something about it, especially with the pandemic. It’s really hard right now.

I just encourage people to be good and kind. The people who get it are disturbed and annoyed.

People on social media see Marcus Rashford and ask for his picture. He’s human, and what I like about him is that he doesn’t get ahead of himself.

Every person who gets insulted, if they say something back [online], gets insulted ten times. We ask the government to do something, because this is more than a joke. I’m concerned about people’s mental health.

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright said in Match of the Day that authorities and social media companies need to do more to identify offenders.

He said: It seems that when a black player plays badly – or thinks he played badly – he ends up with all those smiles and stuff. There are ways to catch people. They’re not vigilant enough. Nowhere.

It has to be something they do hand in hand [government and social media sites]. But why should they care?

Former Tottenham, Newcastle and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas added: I want them to show me these people and tell me that they are doing everything in their power to bring about justice. For those of you wondering why we’re still on our knees, here it is.

The former Manchester City defender, Nedum Onuoha, was of the opinion that people on social media are enthusiastic about publishing articles on abuse because social media companies are not doing enough to stop them.

When it happened to Azel Tuanzebe, you think it’s a big talking point and something like that can’t keep happening, but things keep happening, Onuoha told Radio 5 Live.

Groups of people feel the energy and can do and say what they want again. We rely on the giants of technology to solve a situation they themselves created.

There are people who go in there anonymously and think they can say anything, whether it’s about race or sexuality, and that’s completely unacceptable. How do you control a billion people on social media?

What they are talking about is shameful, and I want change, a lot of people want change, and we need change, but until there is that level of accountability, people will feel the energy to say what they want.

PFA calls for protection of players

The Professional Football Players’ Association (PFA) players’ union argues that action should have been taken sooner.

The players have repeatedly raised the issue publicly and the abuses continue, the UFA said in a statement. While none of us has the power to eliminate racism from society, social media companies need to do their part and eliminate racism on the platforms they operate.

The networks had plenty of time to show they were ready to perform. We have been in a crisis situation with this issue for two years. Racism causes trauma and online abuse poses a significant risk to people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Last week we met with members of the Cabinet to discuss discrimination in football with players who have shared their experiences of racist violence online.

As a result of this meeting, the government pledged to introduce new laws on online abuse and to review the governance of football by fans. While we welcome these measures, finding a way to protect players from continued racist abuse cannot wait.

On Saturday, the Football Association reiterated its commitment to fighting all forms of discrimination.

We are united with all of football in our abhorrence of racist violence, the FA statement said. This is not acceptable in any part of society.

We will continue to work with the rest of the sport, the government and social media to eliminate this discrimination – and all elements of it – from our sport.

Chelsea expressed outrage on Friday after right-back Reece James was racially insulted on social media.

A man was arrested on Saturday after sending a racist message to West Brom midfielder Romain Sawyers.

Tuanzebe and Martial were called out as racists on social media on Wednesday after Manchester United’s defeat to Sheffield United.

Addition of a statement from the PFA : In the past five days, we have seen a new outbreak of disgusting racial violence against black professional football players.

Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial, Romain Sawyers, Rhys James and Marcus Rashford need not tolerate racist violence because the result of a football match does not please some fans. These actors are in the business and racial harassment should not be tolerated in any profession.

We recognize that social media platforms are an extension of the professional footballer’s workplace. Every effort should be made to protect them – and all other users – from racial abuse when using social media.

The consequences of hate crimes committed online and offline should be prosecuted to the extent possible.

The British government met with current and former footballers on Monday to discuss the fight against discrimination and abuse.

On Friday, a Facebook spokesperson said that racism has no place on Instagram, and we are determined to remove it as soon as we find it. We know that there is still work to be done and we will continue to work closely with clubs, players and football authorities to investigate discrimination and tackle the problem together.

Twitter said in a statement: Racist behavior has no place on our service, and when we identify accounts that violate any of the Twitter rules, we take enforcement action.

We have actively worked with our valued football partners to find a common solution to this problem and we will continue to work to curb this unacceptable behaviour, both online and offline.


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