In addition to all the other crap that we’ve had to deal with this season while watching football, one of the worst has been the rise of online racist abuse against players. There have been at least three incidents where current Tottenham Hotspur players have reported being the targets of racist abuse from idiots online on social media, and the problem by no means is contained to Tottenham players either.
Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-Min were both abused online during the month of April leading to investigations, and there has likewise been anti-Semitic abuse directed at Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. It’s not just Spurs fans who were the abused, either — they’ve also been abusers. Go back a little further and there was the 2018 incident where a Spurs fan threw a banana peel at Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang.
The issue is pervasive and wide-spread enough that Tottenham along with the rest of the Premier League joined a multi-day social media boycott at the end of April to pressure content platforms to do more to stem the rising tide of online abuse, a campaign that we happily joined.
Cultural changes won’t happen overnight, but I’m happy to report that a small positive step was made yesterday. Metropolitan police apparently arrested eight men for online racist abuse of an “unnamed Tottenham player” after Spurs’ 3-1 loss to Manchester United in April. The player wasn’t named, but it’s pretty obviously Sonny, since that was the big story in the aftermath of that match.
The report states that United’s social media filters identified the abuse, and the club then reported it to the Met for an investigation. The Met then made a statement following the arrests.
We welcome the action taken here. There is no place for racism anywhere in our game and society. https://t.co/Fz6fOiIGBj— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 21, 2021
This story feels like trying to empty a swimming pool with a teaspoon, but any progress in the ongoing campaign to try and root out racism in football should be noted and applauded. Long may the fight continue.