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Players Boycotting Social Media over Racism Receive Abuse

by Rob Harris .
Saturday Apr 20, 2019
Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, left, duels for the ball with Manchester United's Chris Smalling during the Champions League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, left, duels for the ball with Manchester United's Chris Smalling during the Champions League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 16, 2019  (Source:AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Footballers in England boycotting social media in a protest against racism were targeted with abuse about the 24-hour campaign.

Talks with the social media companies are now being urgently sought by the Professional Footballers Association, which coordinated the "Enough" campaign to demand a crackdown on racism by the platforms.

There was silence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram from many players from 0800 GMT Friday for 24 hours.

"Yesterday, some members received racist abuse on their #Enough posts. When these incidents were reported, the response from social networks was — again — unacceptable," the PFA said in a statement to The Associated Press. "In the coming days, we will be inviting players to report any racist abuse they have received to us. We will collate it and share it with social platforms to demonstrate the impact of their lack of action."

Social media companies did not appear to respond on their networks to the players' concerns despite widespread coverage and support from FIFA for the boycott.

"We will be requesting meetings with each of the social platforms as a matter of priority," the PFA said. "Meetings with the Football Association and government are planned for next month. This is a first step in a larger player-led campaign to tackle racism and demand meaningful change."

The boycott was led by Tottenham defender Danny Rose, who was targeted with monkey noises while playing for England in Montenegro last month, and Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, who called for more stringent regulation of posts on social media.

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