Willian says the responsibility for tackling online abuse lies with football and social media authorities, as the players themselves cannot embrace change.
The Arsenal winger admitted that all players can do is follow the protocol for reporting when they are abused and maybe talk about it in the media, while the power to make a difference remains in the hands of governing bodies, social media companies and lawmakers.
Liverpool have called for the “strongest possible preventive measures” to be taken against racist abuse on social media after Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane were recently targeted.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, confirmed to Sky Sports News that it recently deleted accounts that sent racist messages to Brentford striker Ivan Toney and Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez for breaking platform rules. form, while investigating the abuses sent to Alexander-Arnold, Keita and Mane.
Instagram took action against 6.6 million hate speeches between October and December in 2020
Willian recently went public with the racist abuse he suffered in February. He posted screenshots of abusive direct messages he received on his Instagram story with the caption: “Something has to change! The fight against racism continues.”
He also publicly supported former Shakhtar teammate Donetsk Taison in 2019, after he suffered racist abuse in a game against Dynamo Kyiv.
“It was difficult to talk about it. As players there is not much we can do. We do what we can, we point it out, we share it with you and we talk about it, but we want it to happen. ‘action,’ he said. at a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League game against Slavia Prague.
“We don’t see any action from the authorities. We have to try to find a way to stop it. It’s hard, when people say horrible words about you or your family, it’s not good. They can criticize us in relation to what we do on the ground, that’s fine with me.
“If they want to criticize me for what I do on the pitch, if I have to play better, if I have to train more, I will accept that. When they come and attack you and your family, that’s not good. We have to try a way to stop it.
“I was in this situation. It was very difficult for me. I saw horrible words against my family on my phone for example. After that I thought to myself, enough is enough. I have to try something, take something. measures against racism and online abuse.
“To change it, we must act. As actors, we do what we can, we need the authorities to act.”
At Arsenal, all of us – players, staff and fans – stand together to fight the flow of abusive posts and messages on social media platforms.
We call on everyone to join forces and identify, condemn and highlight abuses when they see them. pic.twitter.com/3WEZLt7uCt
– Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 30, 2021
Arsenal recently launched a #StopOnlineAbuse action plan as part of a collective effort within football to tackle social media discrimination and the club are committed to working with governing bodies, clubs and partners to eradicate it from the game.
“I am proud because the club does that, it helps us a lot. I will not stop my fight against racism,” he added.
When asked what advice he would give to young players who were abused online or in the field for the first time, he replied: “The advice is to share. ‘Never be afraid to do it. These people have to pay for it. I don’t know why they do it, we want to know. The advice is to talk and share. “
“My first reaction is to delete my social accounts”
Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has said the club will also consider joining the social media boycott by Thierry Henry if more is not done to prevent online abuse of their players.
Willian has revealed that he is on the verge of deleting his own accounts and is often afraid to even look at his phone after games.
“I feel like I want to delete my social media account,” he said. “I see people who delete because of racism and abuse. Right now I want to do this, but when I think and take a few minutes, I relax. Right now, the reaction is to delete.”
“To be honest [I am afraid to look]. We are human, you know? I want to understand these people, who they are, who they think they are to talk to us like this?
“We are professional, we do our best to help the team. We always want to win. We have our bad days, sometimes you don’t feel good, you have problems like everyone else.
“Personal issues, family issues, sometimes you’re not having a good day, you have a bad game and they come and say those kinds of words that hurt you. We want to stop this, that’s enough.”
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