Arsenal have this evening released a public statement, after Gunners star Willian revealed that he has become the latest victim of discrimination on social media.
PL cases on the rise
The subject of racial abuse has of course taken centre stage in the Premier League over recent weeks.
This comes with a number of the division’s most high-profile stars having been targeted by so called ‘fans’, via frankly disgusting online messages.
Manchester United’s defeat to Sheffield United late last month was swiftly followed by Red Devils pair Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzbe being singled out for abuse.
In turn, United themselves released a statement, providing their full backing to the club’s two stars, whilst aptly labelling those responsible as ‘anonymous mindless idiots’.
We are #UnitedAgainstRacism.
Then, now and always.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 28, 2021
Such efforts on the part of those in a position of power at Old Trafford, however, unfortunately failed to do the trick, as, just last weekend, Martial was again targeted by supporters of the Reds, following the club’s stalemate with West Brom.
‘Work together to drive this behaviour out’
Such concerning patterns have since seen the debate surrounding not only social media abuse, but also the ease with which such comments can be made with complete anonymity, resurface as major topics of debate.
And, as outlined above, such conversations look set to continue over the days ahead, after the latest Premier League player this evening revealed the details of the sickening racial abuse he has this week been subjected to.
The player in question comes in the form of Arsenal’s Willian.
Taking to his official Instagram account, the Brazilian showcased a screenshot of some of the messages he received last night, on the back of a cameo display in the Gunners’ Europa League meeting with Benfica:
Another horrendous example of the racial abuse being suffered by players. Willian the latest to show what he is being subjected to. There is simply no excuse. pic.twitter.com/IEeHLhCS2P
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 19, 2021
Arsenal themselves, though, in turn, have since quickly leapt to the defence of their under-fire wide-man.
In a lengthy statement released a short time ago, the north Londoners became the latest club to slam the ‘depressing’ behaviour of those responsible for social media discrimination, before confirming their intent to ban any individual involved – who is also in possession of an Arsenal membership – permanently from the Emirates:
‘This is another depressing example of what is sadly happening to our players and many others on a regular basis.’
‘Social media is one of the ways our supporters across the world can feel closer to the club and our players, but across football and beyond we’ve seen an online world poisoned by hateful, racist and discriminatory words.’
‘As our chief executive Vinai Venkatesham said only yesterday, we cannot underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals and the recent spate of abuse needs to be a wake-up call. We all need to work together to drive this behaviour out.’
‘This includes clubs, governing bodies, fans, media and politicians; but requires the help and commitment of social media companies.’
‘Through Arsenal for Everyone we strive to ensure that everyone connected to the club feels an equal sense of belonging.’
‘We will continue to celebrate our diversity and use our platforms to educate others and continue our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.’
‘We commit to using our voice and network to strengthen measures and action taken by relevant authorities to punish those responsible for this abuse which affects us all.’
‘Where any individual is found to have an Arsenal membership, they will be banned. We cannot and will not let racist and hateful abuse become a normalised part of the game.’
Arsenal have responded to the racial abuse suffered by Willian on social media.
Statement below: pic.twitter.com/cgt8ea2Y6i
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 19, 2021
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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