Manchester United, as well as individual players including Harry Maguire, “utterly” condemned the racist abuse thrown at Paul Pogba after Monday’s match and asked social media companies to take action.
The star United midfielder missed a second-half penalty kick against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 1-1 draw on Monday. In the wake of the saved shot, fans sent racist abuse to Pogba on Twitter.
Man United encourages action by social sites
Manchester United released a statement Tuesday calling the abuse “disgusting” and asking for action from social media sites. Via NBC Sports:
“Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse aimed at Paul Pogba last night and we utterly condemn it. The individuals who expressed these views do not represent the values of our great club and it is encouraging to see the vast majority of our fans condemn this on social media also.
“Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our #AllRedAllEqual initiative.
“We will work to identify the few involved in these incidents and take the strongest course of action available to us. We also encourage social media companies to take action in these cases.”
The club shared its “#allredallequal” campaign on Twitter and posted a reminder of its campaign efforts on its website.
Maguire, Marcus Rashford support Pogba
Maguire, the 26-year-old defender who joined Man U earlier this month, also asked social media companies to do something about racist abuse.
Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it... Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram https://t.co/bzow073aTw— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) August 20, 2019
Teammate Marcus Rashford initially stepped up to take the penalty in the 68th minute, but Pogba came over to discuss and took it instead. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Pogba’s decision after the match, via ESPN, as did Rashford.
"Paul wanted to take it, so he took it," said Rashford. "Everyone can miss a penalty. He's scored countless of penalties for us. It's normal to miss one.
"We decide who wants to take it. The confidence you are going to score the goal is always the same. We practice all the time. There is no reason why we shouldn't score. It's not on Pogba, it's on the team."
Rashford also took to Twitter, writing “enough is enough, this needs to stop @Twitter.”
Soccer leaders suggest social media boycott
England’s women’s national team manager Phil Neville, a former United player and coach, suggested a boycott of social media by players to send a “powerful message,” per BBC Sports. Sports minister Nigel Adams is in agreement that social sites need to do more to stop the racist attacks, via BBC:
"We have been clear that social media companies must do more and the government will hold them to account."
The racist abuse comes less than a week after Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, 21, was targeted after his penalty kick was also saved in the UEFA Super Cup. Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is often a target for racist abuse and Chelsea banned one fan for life after an incident.
These three are far from the only examples. Kick It Out published a report in July showing incidents of racist abuse increased by 43 percent last season alone.
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