Individuals defaced his mural, targeted him with racial epithets, and Rashford’s the one apologizing publicly?
Shame on us.
What’s The Solution?
It’s not good enough to condemn racial abuse anymore.
When English players knelt before games and fans booed or took to social media to express their displeasure, the government remained silent.
Inaction weeks ago permitted the public criticism of athletes to continue and boil over as it did Sunday.
Facebook and Twitter have come out to reassure everyone they did their best to remove posts and accounts racially abusing players for England quickly.
The Athletic and other outlets reported the following statement from a Facebook spokesperson:
“No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram. We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night, and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules.”
To express a personal opinion, no social platform moved fast enough, which raises the question of whether tech companies are doing enough to regulate and push back against hateful comments by users.
Manchester United addressed its concerns in April as part of a social media boycott among several professional sporting clubs across the United Kingdom:
Since September 2019, there has been a 350% increase in online abuse directed towards our players.
Legislators in Great Britain have put forward a proposal, known as the Online Safety Bill, which according to the BBC, empowers media watchdog Ofcom to fine organizations up to almost $25 million or 10 percent of their annual revenue for breaches.
The bill represents an effort to curb the spread of hateful content on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
How To Move Forward
It’s a particularly challenging time to be on social media as a pro athlete because it’s a useful tool for marketing purposes.
Many influencers delegate oversight of their social media to a public relations specialist to avoid exposure to public criticism.
That may be a more commonplace practice soon.
But for parents, what should you do if your athlete son or daughter uses social media?
I used to think that my own father exploring my activity on Facebook and Twitter periodically seemed strange.
Now, not so much.
If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to protect your health, both physical and mental.