Whilst reported incidents are becoming less common in the game, Kick it Out (English football’s equality and inclusion organisation) have condemned last night’s despicable acts and sadly, it appears thatracism is yet to be fully eradicated from the footballing public consciousness.
United against racism
Whilst United fans all over the world would have inevitably been disappointed with their shock loss to the Blades, the unity shown by the club in the aftermath of the abuse has been clear.
Academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe was making his first Premier League start of the season for the Red Devils and Ollie Burke’s winner for Sheffield United deflected in to the net off the 23 year-old whilst Anthony Martial couldn’t find the net for the reds as they searched for a leveller.
Immediately after the match, monkey emojis and racist language was used by ‘fans’ in the comment section of pervious posts by both Tuanzabe and Martial.
Club captain Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and the official Manchester United social media outlets all instantly condemned the abuse, which has been supported by other United players and the wider footballing fraternity.
Rearing its ugly head
The timing of the abuse dished out to Tuanzebe and Martial could not be worse in the Premier League, with the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement growing within the English game. Taking the knee has become a powerful, symbolic act before every Premier League game this season and the public awareness of racism across all levels of society appears to be improving.
Campaigners will be hoping that the most recent instance of racial abuse is a setback in the road to eradicating all forms of abuse from English football and the solidarity and strength shown by Tuanzebe, Martial and the wider footballing public demonstrates a strong message that there is no place for racism in football.
Work to do
The events on Wednesday night demonstrate that both Manchester United and those who regulate social media within the game of football still have work to do.
United remain in second place after their defeat to Sheffield United, with the Blades picking up only their second win of the campaign. With Manchester City purring and the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea sure to find form soon, United look to still have work to do in their title bid.
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have all been challenged to regulate their sites better, particularly in the cases of athletes who are abused online, and this latest incident only serves to demonstrate how volatile and harmful comments can be.