More stories

  • in

    I had to delete Twitter because of racist trolls – these people need help, says Jermaine Jenas

    HIS good-natured grin and expert insights have made him a favourite with fans of TV’s Match Of The Day.But now Jermaine Jenas has told for the first time of the shocking racist abuse he was subjected to while commentating during Euro 2020, which led to him calling the police.
    Footie star Jermaine Jenas reveals for the first time of the shocking racist abuse he was subjected to while commentating during Euro 2020Credit: Flicker Productions
    The laid-back man and former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, even called the policeCredit: PA:Press Association
    The former footie ace and One Show host is urging social media giants to clamp down on trolls.
    Jermaine has joined forces with the Football Policing Unit — set up in conjunction with the Home Office — and has spent the past 12 months researching racism for a new Channel 4 documentary, sharing the frustrations of the country’s elite footballers.
    The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder even came face to face with a generic online abuser on Hunting The Football Trolls – after two trolls who had personally abused him, personally, were rules out on grounds of mental health. 
    Jermaine, 38, says: “These unregulated platforms, where people can be anonymous, have become like the black market of racism. I got a lot of abuse commentating during the Euros, which wasn’t nice.
    “Pretty much any game I did, I was trending on Twitter afterwards — a lot of it was racial abuse, some of it just abuse for no reason. It got to the point — after the third game, I think — where I had to delete Twitter. It wasn’t a healthy place for me to be.
    “I’m quite a laid-back person, quite relaxed and I have strong self-belief. But for the first time, I found myself acting a bit differently, being a lot more sensitive when people were trying to have a laugh or a joke with me. After the tournament, there were a couple of tweets that the police highlighted — ones that were directly racist.

    Learn and change
    “So I’m currently going through the process of trying to get some form of punishment for those two people. The police have tracked them down, and I’ve given my statement.
    “Unfortunately these things take time, so who knows if and when they will be charged. There does need to be more of a deterrent — be it a fine, a custodial sentence or some sort of reform, giving education and help to these people, so they can learn and change for good.”
    In the run-up to Euro 2020, as lockdown hit and fans were kept out of stadiums, reported online abuse against footballers soared by 48 per cent. England’s own success at the tournament, where they made their first final in 55 years, was unquestionably soured by fighting in the ground, and the horrendous trolling of young stars Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho in the wake of their penalty misses.
    Depressingly, Jermaine reveals he recently tried lodging a formal complaint with Instagram after being labelled a “half-caste c***” — but, staggeringly, was told the language did not break rules.
    He adds: “I went through the whole process, sent an email, everything, after someone called me that — it rocked me. I hadn’t heard that term since I was maybe eight years old. And Instagram came back to me and said it wasn’t against the community guidelines.
    “This is why so many players are so disillusioned. I spoke to Kyle Walker in the documentary and so many footballers are feeling very disheartened — they don’t feel empowered to do anything.
    I’m currently going through the process of trying to get some form of punishment for those two people. The police have tracked them down, and I’ve given my statement.Jermaine Jenas
    “They think, ‘I get racial abuse but what’s the point in me taking action, taking nine hours out of a couple of rest days, when nothing is going to happen?’
    “And from the clubs’ perspective, it deters them from wanting to get involved as much. They want their players ready for a Saturday afternoon. They want them fit and mentally ready to go.
    “They don’t want them in police stations giving statements every two minutes.”
    In the documentary, Jermaine meets an unidentified 22-year-old man to quiz him on his previous online racial abuse. It makes for uncomfortable viewing.
    The star suffered a career-ending cruciate ligament rupture in 2014 while playing for Queens Park Rangers. As a gifted box-to-box midfielder, the ace made his full Three Lions debut in 2003 — the same year he was named PFA Young Player Of The Year.
    He helped Tottenham win the Carling Cup in 2008, and went on to play 21 times for his country.
    Monkey chants
    In his heyday, Instagram was in its infancy. But the abuse he received was every bit as sinister, especially after a North London derby. Incredibly, Arsenal fans at his mobile phone provider would dish out his number to fans who would then ring and leave vile messages.
    He explains: “Somebody at the phone company where my mobile was registered at the time would hand out my number, and it would spread among opposition fans. I’d finish the 90 minutes, look at my phone and have 20 voicemails saying, ‘Jenas, you black this’ or ‘Jenas, you N-word’ — every kind of racial slur you can think of. I had to keep changing my number, it was awful.”
    He also reveals his worst ever footballing experience was in 2004 when playing for England against Spain at the Bernabeu stadium. England lost 1-0 but the game will be remembered more for the monstrous monkey chants hurled at the team’s black players “every time we touched the ball”.
    He adds: “That was the worst feeling being on a football pitch. I just thought, ‘Why are we here?’ ” Naturally, Jermaine agrees with players taking the knee before games and applauds current England players including Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Rashford for speaking so eloquently about the subject.
    “I’ve never been so attached to a team as I am this current England team,” he says. Everything they do, everything they stand for, the way they play. They have big shoulders, they take responsibility and they are quite happy to discuss social issues or big racial issues.
    “And we have a manager who gives them the freedom to do that. I actually love this team.” After formally announcing his retirement nearly six years ago, Jermaine has become a household name thanks to a regular slot on MoTD.
    Last year he made the successful transition from football pundit to bona fide broadcaster — and showbusiness celebrity — after landing a co-hosting role on BBC’s The One Show alongside Alex Jones.
    Surreally for a lad who grew up on a tough council estate in Nottingham, he has gone on to interview stars including Dolly Parton, Jennifer Aniston and Annie Lennox.
    ‘I look up to Gary’
    But Jermaine credits his “forward-thinking” parents, Dennis and Lynette, for helping him stay grounded — and sane in the face of racial abuse.
    He explains: “I was the son of a black dad and a white mum, and she’d be called a n****er-lover in the street when I was a child, walking by her side.” Of his former semi-professional footballing father, Jermaine adds: “He told me the best way to ignore the taunts in the stands was to score a goal. He was more a Martin Luther King than a Malcolm X.”
    Jermaine, a keen home cook and gym devotee, has been tipped to replace MoTD host Gary Lineker should the ex-England striker decide to hang up his microphone.
    Jermaine’s a big fan of the 60-year-old Leicester legend, and credits him with helping his career.
    Chatting from his home in London, where he lives with wife Ellie and their three children, the devoted family man says: “Gary is somebody I’ve always looked up to as a presenter, and someone I’ve loved working with.
    “I remember one of my first One Show gigs, I had a bit of a sticky moment and I knew I could have handled it better, and Gary reached out, messaged me and said, ‘Look, just a bit of advice; if this happens again, try doing this’.
    Match Of The Day is the biggest job on television, and if I ever got the opportunity of course I’d say yes.Jermaine Jenas
    “He’d tell me what he used to do when he was first starting out, and I always appreciated that. He went out of his way to help me. Gary is like the Des Lynam of my era, let’s make him feel nice and old!
    “Match Of The Day is the biggest job on television, and if I ever got the opportunity of course I’d say yes. When Gary decides to call it a day, I’m sure the BBC will have a look around and decide who’s the best fit for the job.
    “Obviously I’d be absolutely delighted if it was me. But Gary’s not going anywhere.”

    Hunting The Football Trolls: Jermaine Jenas, airs Thursday at 10pm on Channel 4.

    The former footie ace and One Show host, 38, is urging social media giants to clamp down on trollsCredit: Flicker Productions
    Jermaine, here with wife Ellie, says ‘It got to the point — after the third game, I think — where I had to delete Twitter. It wasn’t a healthy place for me to be’Credit: Rex
    The star, here as a pundit on Match Of The Day, reveals ‘Gary is somebody I’ve always looked up to as a presenter, and someone I’ve loved working with’
    The One Show’s Jermaine Jenas winces as he makes nightmare Martin Clunes name blunder More

  • in

    How Facebook Failed to Stem Racist Abuse of England’s Soccer Players

    In May 2019, Facebook asked the organizing bodies of English soccer to its London offices off Regent’s Park. On the agenda: what to do about the growing racist abuse on the social network against Black soccer players.At the meeting, Facebook gave representatives from four of England’s main soccer organizations — the Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association — what they felt was a brushoff, two people with knowledge of the conversation said. Company executives told the group that they had many issues to deal with, including content about terrorism and child sex abuse.A few months later, Facebook provided soccer representatives with an athlete safety guide, including directions on how players could shield themselves from bigotry using its tools. The message was clear: It was up to the players and the clubs to protect themselves online.The interactions were the start of what became a more than two-year campaign by English soccer to pressure Facebook and other social media companies to rein in online hate speech against their players. Soccer officials have since met numerous times with the platforms, sent an open letter calling for change and organized social media boycotts. Facebook’s employees have joined in, demanding that it to do more to stop the harassment.The pressure intensified after the European Championship last month, when three of England’s Black players were subjected to torrents of racial epithets on social media for missing penalty kicks in the final game’s decisive shootout. Prince William condemned the hate, and the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, threatened regulation and fines for companies that continued to permit racist abuse. Inside Facebook, the incident was escalated to a “Site Event 1,” the equivalent of a companywide five-alarm fire.Jadon Sancho, who missed a penalty kick during England’s loss in the European Championship final last month, was embraced by the team’s manager, Gareth Southgate.Pool photo by Laurence GriffithsYet as the Premier League, England’s top division, opens its season on Friday, soccer officials said that the social media companies — especially Facebook, the largest — hadn’t taken the issue seriously enough and that players were again steeling themselves for online hate.“Football is a growing global market that includes clubs, brands, sponsors and fans who are all tired of the obvious lack of desire from the tech giants to develop in-platform solutions for the issues we are dealing with daily,” said Simone Pound, head of equality, diversity and inclusion for the Professional Footballers’ Association, the players’ union.The impasse with English soccer is another instance of Facebook’s failing to solve speech problems on its platform, even after it was made aware of the level of abuse. While Facebook has introduced some measures to mitigate the harassment, soccer officials said they were insufficient.Social media companies aren’t doing enough “because the pain hasn’t become enough for them,” said Sanjay Bhandari, the chair of Kick It Out, an organization that supports equality in soccer.This season, Facebook is trying again. Its Instagram photo-sharing app rolled out new features on Wednesday to make racist material harder to view, according to a blog post. Among them, one will let users hide potentially harassing comments and messages from accounts that either don’t follow or recently followed them.“The unfortunate reality is that tackling racism on social media, much like tackling racism in society, is complex,” Karina Newton, Instagram’s global head of public policy, said in a statement. “We’ve made important strides, many of which have been driven by our discussions with groups being targeted with abuse, like the U.K. football community.”But Facebook executives also privately acknowledge that racist speech against English soccer players is likely to continue. “No one thing will fix this challenge overnight,” Steve Hatch, Facebook’s director for Britain and Ireland, wrote last month in an internal note that The Times reviewed.Some players appear resigned to the abuse. Four days after the European Championship final, Bukayo Saka, 19, one of the Black players who missed penalty kicks for England, posted on Twitter and Instagram that the “powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages” and called it a “sad reality.”Around the same time, Facebook employees continued to report hateful comments to their employer on Mr. Saka’s posts in an effort to get them taken down. One that was reported — an Instagram comment that read, “Bro stay in Africa” — apparently did not violate the platform’s rules, according to the automated moderation system. It stayed up.#EnoughMuch of the racist abuse in English soccer has been directed at Black superstars in the Premier League, such as Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. About 30 percent of players in the Premier League are Black, Mr. Bhandari said.Over time, these players have been harassed at soccer stadiums and on Facebook, where users are asked to provide their real names, and on Instagram and Twitter, which allows users to be anonymous. In April 2019, fed up with the behavior, some players and two former captains of the national team, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, took part in a 24-hour social media boycott, posting red badges on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #Enough.A month later, English soccer officials held their first meeting with Facebook — and came away disappointed. Facebook said that “feedback from the meeting was taken on board and influenced further policy, product and enforcement efforts.”Tensions ratcheted up last year after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. When the Premier League restarted in June 2020 after a 100-day coronavirus hiatus, athletes from all 20 clubs began each match by taking a knee. Players continued the symbolic act last season and said they would also kneel this season.That has stoked more online abuse. In January, Mr. Rashford used Twitter to call out “humanity and social media at its worst” for the bigoted messages he had received. Two of his Manchester United teammates, who are also Black, were targeted on Instagram with monkey emojis — which are meant to dehumanize — after a loss.Inside Facebook, employees took note of the surge in racist speech. In one internal forum meant for flagging negative press to the communications department, one employee started cataloging articles about English soccer players who had been abused on Facebook’s platforms. By February, the list had grown to about 20 different news clips in a single month, according to a company document seen by The Times.Marcus Rashford kneeling in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before a Manchester United match in March.Pool photo by Peter PowellEnglish soccer organizations continued meeting with Facebook. This year, organizers also brought Twitter into the conversations, forming what became known as the Online Hate Working Group.But soccer officials grew frustrated at the lack of progress, they said. There was no indication that Facebook’s and Twitter’s top leaders were aware of the abuse, said Edleen John, who heads international relations and corporate affairs for the Football Association, England’s governing body for the sport. She and others began discussing writing an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, the chief executives of Facebook and Twitter.“Why don’t we try to communicate and get meetings with individuals right at the top of the organization and see if that will make change?” Ms. John said in an interview, explaining the thinking.In February, the chief executives of the Premier League, the Football Association and other groups published a 580-word letter to Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Dorsey accusing them of “inaction” against racial abuse. They demanded that the companies block racist and discriminatory content before it was sent or posted. They also pushed for user identity verification so offenders could be rooted out.But, Ms. John said, “we didn’t get a response” from Mr. Zuckerberg or Mr. Dorsey. In April, English soccer organizations, players and brands held a four-day boycott of social media.Twitter, which declined to comment, said in a blog post about racism on Tuesday that it had been “appalled by those who targeted players from the England football team with racist abuse following the Euro 2020 Final.”Messages of support adorning a mural of Mr. Rashford that was defaced after Italy defeated England for the European championship.Lindsey Parnaby/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesAt Facebook, members of the policy team, which sets the rules around what content stays up or comes down, pushed back against the demands from soccer officials, three people with knowledge of the conversations said.They argued that terms or symbols used for racist abuse — such as a monkey emoji — could have different meanings depending on the context and should not be banned completely. Identity verification could also undermine anonymity on Instagram and create new problems for users, they argued.In April, Facebook announced a privacy setting called Hidden Words to automatically filter out messages and comments containing offensive words, phrases and emojis. Those comments cannot then be easily seen by the account user and will be hidden from those who follow the account. A month later, Instagram also began a test that allowed a slice of its users in the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Britain to flag “racist language or activity,” according to documents reviewed by The Times.The test generated hundreds of reports. One internal spreadsheet outlining the results included a tab titled “Dehumanization_Monkey/Primate.” It had more than 30 examples of comments using bigoted terms and emojis of monkeys, gorillas and bananas in connection with Black people.‘The Onus Is on Them’In the hours after England lost the European Championship final to Italy on July 11, racist comments against the players who missed penalty kicks — Mr. Saka, Mr. Rashford and Jadon Sancho — escalated. That set off a “site event” at Facebook, eventually triggering the kind of emergency associated with a major system outage of the site.Facebook employees rushed to internal forums to say they had reported monkey emojis or other degrading stereotypes. Some workers asked if they could volunteer to help sort through content or moderate comments for high-profile accounts.“We get this stream of utter bile every match, and it’s even worse when someone black misses,” one employee wrote on an internal forum.Gianluigi Donnarumma of Italy stopping Mr. Sancho’s penalty kick. England missed three of five penalty kicks, giving Italy the victory after play ended with the score tied.Laurence Griffiths/Getty ImagesBut the employees’ reports of racist speech were often met with automated messages saying the posts did not violate the company’s guidelines. Executives also provided talking points to employees that said Facebook had worked “swiftly to remove comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers.”In one internal comment, Jerry Newman, Facebook’s director of sports partnerships for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, reminded workers that the company had introduced the Hidden Words feature so users could filter out offensive words or symbols. It was the players’ responsibility to use the feature, he wrote.“Ultimately the onus is on them to go into Instagram and input which emojis/words they don’t want to feature,” Mr. Newman said. Other Facebook executives said monkey emojis were not typically used negatively. If the company filtered certain terms out for everyone, they added, people might miss important messages.Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s chief executive, later said the platform could have done better, tweeting in response to a BBC reporter that the app “mistakenly” marked some of the racist comments as “benign.”Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, told the BBC that the app had “mistakenly” marked some racist comments as “benign.”Ricky Rhodes for The New York TimesBut Facebook also defended itself in a blog post. The company said it had removed 25 million pieces of hate content in the first three months of the year, while Instagram took down 6.3 million pieces, or 93 percent before a user reported it.Kelly Hogarth, who helps manage Mr. Rashford’s off-field activities, said he had no plans to leave social media, which serves as an important channel to fans. Still, she questioned how much of the burden should be on athletes to monitor abuse.“At what point does responsibility come off the player?” she wondered. She added, “I wouldn’t be under any illusions we will be in exactly the same place, having exactly the same conversation next season.” More

  • in

    Facebook and Twitter FINALLY hand over details of racist trolls who abused England’s Euro 2020 stars with five arrested

    FACEBOOK, Instagram and Twitter have finally handed over the details of racist trolls who abused England’s Euro 2020 stars.Five people have been arrested after heroes Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted following England’s heartbreaking defeat.
    Social media giants have finally handed over the details of racist trolls after horrific abuse was levelled at Lions heroesCredit: Getty
    Social media giants had faced mounting pressure to give up the thugs posting abuse – after bosses were hauled before Boris Johnson for a dressing-down earlier this week.
    Chief Constable Mark Roberts, the National Police Chiefs’ Council football policing lead, said the companies are now “working very closely” with the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) to track down the vile trolls.
    It comes as:

    Mr Roberts said: “The racial abuse aimed at our own players following Sunday night’s game is utterly vile and has quite rightly shocked and appalled people across the country.
    “Our England team have been true role models during the tournament, conducting themselves with professionalism and dignity.
    “I’m disgusted there are individuals out there who think it’s acceptable to direct such abhorrent abuse at them, or at anybody else.
    “The UKFPU investigation is well under way and work continues to identify those responsible.
    “We are working very closely with social media platforms, who are providing data we need to progress inquiries.
    “If we identify that you are behind this crime, we will track you down and you will face the serious consequences of your shameful actions.”
    A 42-year-old man from Runcorn is the fifth person to have been questioned, Cheshire Police confirmed on Thursday.
    The man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of displaying threatening, abusive or insulting written material. He has since been released under investigation pending further inquires.
    Saka in a statement on Thursday: “To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week.
    “I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”
    Meanwhile, school meals hero Rashford said: “I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty wasn’t good enough, it should have gone in.
    “But I will never apologise for who I am and where I came from.”
    The UKFPU said that, as of Tuesday, 897 football-related incidents and 264 arrests had been recorded across the country in the 24-hour period surrounding the final.
    That took the number of football-related incidents during the tournament to 2,344, and arrests to 630.
    Asked about measures to tackle the issue following a speech in Coventry, the Prime Minister acknowledged the Government had “got to go further” than simply extending the scope of football banning orders to include online abuse.
    Banning orders exclude people from attending matches for between three and 10 years.
    One comedian has seen a string of shows cancelled after tweeting: “I’m sorry that black guys are bad at penalties.”
    And a Savills worker has been arrested racist abuse was sent from his Twitter account.
    A post from Andrew Bone’s Twitter account branded the players the N-word and claimed the England stars had “ruined it for us” after the loss.

    Bone’s family claimed to The Sun his account had been hacked.
    Children’s football coach Nick Scott, 50, initially said he had nothing to do with a vile tweet sent to Rashford.
    He later admitted he may have sent it while drunk – and told The Sun: “If I did, I want Marcus to know that I’m truly sorry and I apologise sincerely.”
    Sancho, Saka and Rashford were targeted with disgusting abuse after England’s heartbreaking Euro 2020 defeatCredit: Getty
    The heroes were devastated after bravely stepping up to take penalties in the game against ItalyCredit: Getty
    One of the alleged racists, Nick Scott, initially said he’d been hacked – but now admits he might have said something vile when he was drunkCredit: @scottywwfc/Twitter
    Jadon Sancho saddened by racial abuse but says ‘hate will never win’ as England star writes powerful Instagram message More

  • in

    England’s Bukayo Saka Urges Facebook and Twitter to Crack Down on Abuse

    After facing a torrent of racist abuse online, Bukayo Saka said he didn’t want anyone to deal with such “hateful and hurtful messages.”After Bukayo Saka missed a penalty kick for England’s national team on Sunday in the final of the European soccer championship, he and several teammates were overwhelmed by a wave of racist abuse.On Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, people posted monkey emojis and racist epithets to insult Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, all Black players who missed their penalty kicks in the shootout against rival Italy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prince William and others swiftly denounced the ugly eruption of racist commentary, especially against a team that had come to symbolize England’s racial diversity.On Thursday, Saka, 19, spoke out for the first time since Sunday’s final. In a statement on Twitter, he condemned the online bigotry he and his fellow players have faced. After saying how disappointed and sorry he was with the loss, Saka took aim at Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, urging them to do more to crack down on the abuse.“To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me, Marcus and Jadon have received this week,” Saka wrote. “I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”Saka’s comments added to growing calls for the platforms to take action against hate speech.On Wednesday, Mr. Johnson said he had warned representatives from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Snapchat that they would face fines under Britain’s planned online safety legislation if they failed to remove hate speech and racism from their platforms.England’s Football Association also released a statement, saying that “social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making the platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it was removing comments and accounts that had directed abuse at England’s team and was providing information to law enforcement authorities. Four people have been arrested over online racist attacks aimed at England’s players, the British police said on Thursday.Twitter said it had removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended “a number of accounts” for violating its rules.Facebook and Twitter have long had trouble grappling with hate speech on their platforms. Last year, during the Black Lives Matter movement and just months before the presidential election, civil rights groups called on advertisers to boycott Facebook if it did not do more to tackle toxic speech and misinformation on its site.The issue became especially heated last year ahead of the presidential election, when President Donald J. Trump spread falsehoods about voting and made veiled threats against lawmakers. In January, after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, Twitter and Facebook barred Mr. Trump from their platforms for speech that they said had the potential of inciting more violence. More

  • in

    Lianne Sanderson receives no social media abuse for first time in TV pundit career while presenting Euro 2020 show

    LIANNE SANDERSON has revealed that today’s the first time she hasn’t been abused on Twitter since becoming a pundit.The former England ace shared the news with fans via Twitter after her appearance on Sky Sports Euro 2020 show.
    Sanderson revealed it’s the first time she hasn’t received any social media abuseCredit: PA:Press Association
    The 32-year-old said: “Today was the first day ever believe it or not, that I didn’t receive one racist, sexiest or homophobic tweet after being on TV.”
    Despite the positive progress, the ex-Arsenal and Juventus striker still thinks there’s a long way to go in fight against online abuse.
    But is grateful that people are starting to realise the tremendous impact words can have on others.
    She added: “There’s still a long way to go but maybe people are realizing, that their words do hurt and have an impact.
    “Thanks to everyone for you’re messages today.”
    Sanderson’s revelation comes just months after both men and women football stars united to take a stand against online trolls.
    Premier League and WSL stars took part in a social media blackout in a bid to force tech bosses to do more to stamp out the virtual abuse.
    In the blackout, the clubs, along with The Sun, stayed off their social media accounts from Friday, April 30 to Monday, May 3.
    Today was the first day ever believe it or not, that I didn’t receive one racist, sexiest or homophobic tweet after being on tv . Still a long way to go but maybe people are realizing, that their words do hurt and have an impact. Thanks to everyone for you’re messages today ❤️— Lianne Sanderson (@liannesanderson) June 17, 2021

    The ex-Juve star wants people to understand how hurtful words can beCredit: Getty – Contributor

    Online trolling of players got so bad that ex-Manchester United boss Casey Stoney publicly called out Mark Zuckerburg for not doing more.
    Stoney reached breaking point when Lauren James was subjected to racism on her Instagram.
    The 39-year-old said to Zuckerburg: “@Instagram, is this what you think is acceptable.
    “@Zuck are these the values and behaviours you align with?”
    JLS’s Aston Merrygold heartbroken after cruel trolls racially abuse his three year old son on social media More

  • in

    Was Paul Pogba Bitten in Germany vs. France?

    Pogba reacted and Antonio Rüdiger has video deniability, experts say. But what exactly happened in the 45th minute of a Euro 2020 match?The linesman apparently didn’t see it. Neither did the Spanish referee. And the television replays were inconclusive.But Euro 2020 got its first real controversy on Tuesday:Did Germany’s Antonio Rüdiger bite France’s Paul Pogba on the shoulder?Let’s go to the videotape.What is Rudiger doing 😳— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 15, 2021
    The incident happened just before halftime, as Rüdiger snuggled up to mark Pogba from behind as he prepared to receive a throw-in deep in Germany’s end during their teams’ group-stage match in Munich. Suddenly, Rüdiger, the German defender, pressed his face into the back of Pogba, the France midfielder, and the latter let out a shot, grabbed the back of his right shoulder and then leaned forward while holding it.In the United States, ESPN’s broadcast team didn’t draw any conclusions of what occurred. In Britain, Roy Keane, who knows a thing or two about getting under an opponent’s skin, called it more of a “nibble” than a bite on ITV. In Brazil, where he is preparing to play for Uruguay in the Copa América on Friday, Luis Suárez probably wondered why he was suddenly a trending topic on Twitter.But was it a bite? Or did it just look like one?Pogba pleading his case. Antonio Rüdiger looking to play on.Pool photo by Matthias HangstReplays offered Rüdiger enough of a degree of deniability, the former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg suggested on ESPN. He said there was no way the match referee — or even the video review system in operation at the tournament — could rule on it beyond a shadow of a doubt based on the available replays. (The video-assistant referee was far more certain about the two French goals it ruled out for offside.)But almost as soon as Pogba vs. Rüdiger became a flash point, it was over. Play continued, with Rüdiger taking a free kick. A few minutes after that, it was halftime. But what, exactly, had Pogba been complaining about?Neither Pogba nor Rüdiger offered any clarity immediately after the match, which France won, 1-0.UPDATE: The players appeared to have resolved any animosity, if there ever was any, after the final whistle.Pool photo by Alexander Hassenstein More

  • in

    F1 committed to fighting racism despite no social media boycott as Lewis Hamilton tops Portuguese Grand Prix practice

    FORMULA ONE say they ARE committed to fighting against racism – despite failing to follow other sports in their social media boycott.British drivers Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell have all joined Premier League stars in staying off social media until Monday.
    Lewis Hamilton has joined the social media boycott but Formula One has notCredit: Reuters

    The move is in protest at social media companies’ failure to do more to stop online abuse.
    And while F1 continue to post across their social media channels, the sport say they don’t believe their failure to stop undermines their own anti-racism message.
    A spokesman said: “F1 is wholly committed to combating any form of discrimination, online or otherwise.
    “We support the actions of the Premier League and other sporting bodies and athletes in highlighting that more must be done to eradicate online abuse that they are receiving directly.
    “We continue to work with all platforms and our own audiences to promote respect and positive values and put a stop to racism.”
    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team has shown their support for their own campaigns, which included painting their silver car black and setting up a partnership with the Association of Black and Ethnic Minority Engineers.
    He added: “I think Formula One and Mercedes have shown commitment to the fight against racism all year long.
    “Not only with the visible initiatives but we have launched several campaigns to increase diversity and we have invested considerable resources in setting up these programmes and we would leave it to the drivers to decide if they wish to take part in a UK based boycott.

    🏁 F1 2021 calendar: practice times, dates and racetrack info
    “I think fighting racism with different tools is necessary. F1 is a sport and up to everyone if they wish to join this UK initiative.”
    Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, added: “It is very much a UK driven thing but we don’t condone racism in any way shape or form.
    “We are following the lead of the commercial rights holder on this and the drivers’ have the freedom to follow what every action they feel suitable.”
    On Saturday, Mercedes and Red Bull will go head to head in qualifying after competing at the top of timesheets in practice.
    Hamilton topped the timesheets for Friday’s second session at the Portugal GP – with Max Verstappen a close second.
    The two have battled for wins in the opening two races of this season, with Hamilton holding just a slender one-point lead in the championship.
    Hamilton’s Mercedes topped the timesheets in Friday second practice at PortimaoCredit: Alamy
    Max Verstappen is looking to build on a promising title bid in the AlgarveCredit: Getty

    Both the Mercedes man and Red Bull’s Verstappen have a win apiece coming into this weekend’s race.
    Hamilton said: “Everyone was struggling with grip and it was quite a challenge keeping the car on the road.
    “It is going to be close. I did not get to see Max’s lap, but we have still got time to make some improvements, as have Red Bull. But it will be close, as it has been in the last two races.”
    Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, had topped FP1 from Verstappen by just 0.025 seconds.
    Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton shows off ripped body More

  • in

    Why is there a Premier League social media blackout, and who is taking part?

    THIS weekend SunSport will join Premier League clubs in their social media blackout campaign.From 3pm on Friday, April 30 to 11.59pm on Monday, May 3, all of The Sun’s Twitter accounts will suspend activity.
    Premier League clubs will not be posting on their social media this weekendCredit: PA
    Why is there a Premier League social media blackout?
    Across the sporting world, accounts on social media will fall silent this weekend.
    The initiative is a show of solidarity against racism, with all 20 Premier League clubs involved.
    Billed as ‘weekend of action’, Twitter accounts which would usually be buzzing with activity across a bank-holiday period will instead be dormant.
    The move is a bid to ramp up pressure on social platforms to act against online hate and abuse after a spate of recent incidents.
    Thierry Henry last month told SunSport’s Troy Deeney why he quit social media.
    The Arsenal legend shut down his accounts to take a stand against online abuse.

    Twitter have responded to the campaign indirectly, posting a statement which condemned racist behaviour on their site.
    It read: “Racist behaviour, abuse and harassment have absolutely no place on our service and alongside our partners in football, we condemn racism in all its forms.
    “We are resolute in our commitment to ensure the football conversation on our service is safe for fans, players and everyone involved in the game.
    “Since the started on September 12th, there have been over 30m Tweets from people in the UK about football.
    The blackout is designed to put pressure on social media companiesCredit: PA
    “In that time we have removed over 7,000 Tweets in the UK that were targeting the football conversation with violations of the Twitter Rules.
    “This represents roughly 0.02% of the overall football conversation in the UK and does not reflect the vast majority of people who engage in vibrant discussions about football on Twitter. 
    “Racism is a deep societal and complex issue and everyone has a role to play. 
    “We are committed to dong our part and continue to work closely with valued partners in football, government and police, along with the working group convened by Kick It Out to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively – both online and away from social media.”

    Who else is taking part?
    Alongside SunSport, a number of other broadcasters including Sky Sports, BT Sport and Guardian Sport will all fall silent on Twitter from 3pm on Friday.
    Uefa will follow suit, as well as accounts for the FA, Premier League clubs, EFL, Women’s Super League, PFA, Kick It Out and the Football Supporters Association.
    English cricket and Premiership rugby have also announced they intend to support the boycott.
    Lewis Hamilton says he will be joining in the boycottCredit: EPA
    F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has called on companies to do more in eradicating online hate and will also join the three-day ban.
    He said: ” I think I’m going to be supporting [the boycott] this weekend also. There’s no reason not to.
    “You’ve seen what’s happening around the world, you’ve seen a lot of the talk that happened last year, but this year is a year of action.
    “The social media platforms haven’t done enough at the end. They have the capability of implementing change and making sure that there’s no grounds for that.” More