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Swansea City: Football club boycotts all social media after three players suffer ‘abhorrent’ abuse

Written by on 8 April 2021

Swansea City are boycotting all social media as a protest against online abuse and discrimination after three of their players suffered “abhorrent” racism since February.

The Sky Bet Championship side’s club-wide stance begins at 5pm on Thursday and lasts for seven days, taking in all its official channels.

The blackout covers all first-team players, plus the under-23s and under-18s, Swansea City Ladies, the club’s Community Trust and senior club staff.

Swansea City play at the Liberty Stadium Image: Swansea City play at the Liberty Stadium

None will post any content until the boycott ends at 5pm on Thursday, 15 April.

The club, in a statement, said “enough is enough”, after several of their players were “subjected to abhorrent abuse in the past seven weeks alone”.

They said: “We feel it is right to take a stand against behaviour that is a blight on our sport, and society at large.”

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City captain Matt Grimes said: “Three of our squad have been racially abused in recent weeks.

“I find it staggering that we are still talking about racism and abuse of this kind… It shouldn’t be underestimated as to how such levels of abuse can affect someone.

“Social media has provided so many positives over the last decade, however, the sickening and vile abuse that we are seeing on a daily and weekly basis is wholly unacceptable.

Montreal Impact's head coach Thierry Henry looks on during an MLS soccer game against the New England Revolution in Montreal, Saturday, February 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes Image: Thierry Henry has quit social media over racist abuse

“As a close and diverse group of players, this is something we all feel extremely passionate about.”

The latest incident occurred after the Swans’ defeat at Birmingham City on Friday night, when Jamal Lowe was racially abused on Instagram the following day, Sky Sports said.

Yan Dhanda was also abused after February’s FA Cup loss to Manchester City and Ben Cabango was targeted while on international duty with Wales.

Three Liverpool players, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane, became the latest in a long list of players to be targeted on social media after Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg loss to Real Madrid.

The Premier League champions called for “the strongest possible preventative measures” to be taken over the matter.

Swansea have written to Twitter and Facebook urging the introduction of tougher policing and punishments for those found guilty of sending online abuse.

Emphasising the entire club was “united” behind taking the stance, City said they stood with players from other clubs “who have had to endure vile discrimination on social media platforms”.

Swansea's Jamal Lowe (L) in action against Birmingham City, after which he suffered abuse Image: Swansea’s Jamal Lowe (right) in action against Birmingham City, after which he suffered abuse

“As a club we are also acutely aware of how social media can impact on the mental health of players and staff, and we hope our strong stance will highlight the wider effects of abuse,” they added.

Last month, former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry quit social media because of the lack of action from technology companies to combat rising levels of abuse on their platforms.

Tottenham’s Gareth Bale also said he would support a football-wide boycott of social media if it helped to stop abuse.

In 2019, several leading Premier League players staged a 24-hour social media boycott in protest at racist abuse.