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Arsenal players join 24 hour boycott of social media to protest racist abuse

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This is a good thing,

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

I think we all know that social media is, more often than not, a flaming toilet inside a dumpster falling off a cliff into an open pit sewer. I mean, sure, there’s all sorts of cool cat videos and funny animal fails and whatnot, but by and large, the “discourse” on social media is reductive, simplistic, and does not, to put it mildly, represent the best of humanity.

But you know all that, so I will stop yelling at you kids to get off my lawn. I will, instead, talk about how a great many professional athletes are not exempt from having that flaming toilet dumpster dropped on their heads - just this week, Ashley Young was racially abused on Twitter (the link is to a story about it, not to the actual thing), and Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, and the walking pair of cojones that is Troy Deeney have had problems in the recent past as well.

And that’s just the online stuff - there have been any number of in-person acts of racism as well, all of which are disgusting and should not be tolerated by anyone.

Players have, rightfully, banded together and said THIS NEEDS TO STOP. And in an effort to call attention to the problem and to get people to actually do something about it, the Professional Footballers’ Association and its membership are boycotting all forms of social media today, from 9AM BT on Friday until 9AM BT on Saturday (1AM to 1AM west coast time, 4AM to 4AM east coast).

All players participating in the boycott posted this before taking the day off:

If I may paraphrase one of my favorite rabble-rousers and social activists ever, Billy Bragg: You’re clearly not going to stop racism and abuse just by posting about it on social media, but that should never stop you trying.

This boycott won’t singlehandedly solve the problem, and I’m sure the players know that. But I love that they’re starting to raise their voice as a unified force about this issue, because it’s vital that they’re heard. That’s the only way that the temperature will raise to enough of a boil that the social media platforms may someday start to give a damn about the bilge that flows freely across their platforms, and start to stand up and say enough is enough.