Football engages fans from places all over the world. The sport is for everyone and discrimination within and around football is something that we should fight together. Social media (SoMe) allows fans to show their love and support and to follow their favorite player or team. Sadly, the companies who run the different platforms are doing far too little to prevent “keyboard warriors” sitting behind their screens spreading hateful, discriminating and abusive comments without being punished. It is time to say no. We need to protect our sport from the part of SoMe that wants to destroy and make football a vulnerable place.
From Friday 30th April to Monday 3rd May, Chelsea FC will join the English top leagues in a boycott of SoMe in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football. Nothing will be posted on our SoMe during this period. Our second leg against Bayern Munich will be affected, which is unfortunate but nevertheless, is vitally important to highlight the importance of this issue.
Many pro footballers use their SoMe to inspire fans and let them be a part of their careers. It is a way of letting our fans get to know us a bit more beyond what they see on the pitch. Some players choose to be very active on SoMe and they really let their followers come close, while others use their channels in a more frugal way. I feel that it is important to let my followers be a part of my journey and I also see my plattform as an important place where I can make my voice heard. Despite this, I am aware of the disadvantages that SoMe can cause. It is easy to get stuck scrolling through likes, comments and find yourself subconsciously searching for others people’s opinions of your performance. Here is where the “keyboard warriors” become dangerous.
I think it is really important to protect the football world from discrimination, hate and abuse through SoMe. The SoMe companies have a big responsibility to counteract this negative behavior and to address the current anonymity present on SoMe which enables anyone to write what they want without their identities being shown. As a player myself I understand the importance of us being protected from this and acknowledge that the football world has been exposed to much of this lately. We need to fight this together and we need to protect each other.
We all know that SoMe is a great way for the fans to get close to their favorite teams and players. We know that SoMe creates big profiles and role models all over the world. But we also know that SoMe can be horrible and devastating, which we have seen so much of lately. Enough is enough. It is time to fight for a change.
How would you change Social media to stop the discrimination?
Read the original text in Swedish on Fotbollskanalen