Online abuse has to stop.
Bukayo Saka. Willian. Granit Xhaka. Shkodran Mustafi. Thierry Henry. All current and former Arsenal players who have spoken to the media about the horrific abuse they regularly receive on their social media. From racism to threats and ill-wishes towards family members, the filth players receive in their direct messages, comments, and replies runs the gamut of the worst of the worst. And I promise you the ones that have spoken up aren’t the only ones dealing with it.
No sooner had I typed that list out and linked all the names did I remember that Nicolas Pépé should also have been included for the abuse he suffered after being sent off against Leeds in the fall. I’m sure a bit more Googling would turn up even more players who have spoken out. It’s sickening.
No human should have to deal with a constant barrage of toxicity, and yet social media companies and the people who run them allow abuse to continue unabated. For every public figure who speaks out about the abuse they’ve received, there are thousands of people experiencing the same thing every day in silence and obscurity. It’s awful. It’s disgusting. It’s completely unacceptable.
Arsenal recently launched its #StopOnlineAbuse initiative. The Premier League clubs and players are taking their social media offline this weekend. It’s time we join the fight as well. We all can and must do better.
The Short Fuse, partnering with several of the other Premier League blogs, will support the boycott by also going dark on social media this weekend. We are part of the football social media ecosystem and society at large and feel that it is important to do our part to stamp out racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, and all other forms of hate, abuse, and bigotry.
Being part of a social media blackout is a symbol that won’t in and of itself foster significant change. Change requires action. To that end, this post is a pledge that we at TSF can and will continue to speak up against and not be a part of any discrimination.
We also encourage you, reader, to think about what you can do to help eliminate those evils on social media and push media companies to do more to control the platforms that have become so infested with hatred that the Premier League players felt compelled to take speak out with their collective voice against it.
Please note that this boycott only covers the The Short Fuse social media feeds — Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We will continue to post articles as normal during this period.
Aaron, on behalf of The Short Fuse staff
The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women In Football and the FSA will unite for a social media boycott from the afternoon of Friday 30th April until the night of Monday 3rd May in response to the ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football.
This has been scheduled to take place across a full fixture schedule in the men’s and women’s professional game and will see clubs across the Premier League, EFL, WSL and Women’s Championship switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
In solidarity with the cause, the following SB Nation Soccer Premier League blogs will also be honoring a similar period of silence on their social media accounts –
Arsenal – The Short Fuse
Aston Villa – 7500 to Holte
Everton – Royal Blue Mersey
Leicester City – Fosse Posse
Liverpool – The Liverpool Offside
Manchester United – The Busby Babe
Newcastle – Coming Home Newcastle
Tottenham – Cartilage Free Captain
This boycott alone will not stop the stream of hateful commentary that pervades through social media nowadays, but is more of a call to action for all of us as football fans to stand together and stamp this out of the game. We encourage each one of you to take a minute to think about what you, personally, can do to make the game we all love a kinder, more inclusive space and to help drive racism and abuse off social media.
We thank you for your support.