By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
As a protest against lack of action of racial abuse online, particularly against footballers and managers, sports persons, sports bodies and organisations, broadcasters, sponsors and others are uniting in a boycott of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for a period of four days from today, Friday 30 April at 3 pm (BST) until Monday 3 May at 11 59 pm (BST).
Taking part in this boycott, amongst others, are:
The English Premier League Clubs;
The English Football League Clubs;
The Women’s Super League; and
The Women’s Championship.
The Professional Footballers Association, the League Managers Association; the Football Supporters’ Association, as well as anti-discrimination bodies/organisations, including ‘Kick It Out’ and ‘Show Racism The Red Card’.
Other sports, such as cricket, tennis and rugby union are also taking part in the boycott.
World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, and the Williams Team driver, George Russell, will also shut down their social media accounts. However, there is no wider participation expected from Formula 1.
Sponsors, such as ADIDAS, which supplies more than a third of the English Premier League kit, and Barclays, which sponsors the Women’s Super League, will also take part in the blackout.
BT Sport, which stated that “this horrific cycle of online abuse needs to end” and Sky Sports, a major supporter of the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign, are amongst the sports broadcasters who are participating in the boycott.
Let us hope that the owners of social media take note of this boycott and, as a result, take more action against any form of racial abuse that appears on their platforms in future!