Today professional footballers in England and Wales will boycott social media to take a stand against racism.
#Enough is a campaign organised by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), which will encourage players not to use any form of social media from 09.00am 19th April to 09.00am on the 20th April.
Over the last few months, both domestically and internationally, there have been a number of high-profile racist incidents directed at players. The boycott acts as a show of unity by the players, and a call for stronger action to be taken by social networks and footballing authorities in response to racist abuse both on and off the pitch.
Players recognise that these racist incidents are a reflection of societal issues. They know first-hand how damaging racism can be and are using their platforms to inspire change that will benefit players, football and society as a whole.
The boycott is the first step in a longer campaign to tackle racism in football. The PFA will continue to work closely with the FA and government to ensure more is done to tackle racist abuse, while also seeking to put pressure on both FIFA and UEFA through FIFPro.
The campaign seeks to shine a light on the need for social media platforms to take responsibility to address racism received by professional footballers and other users online.
The PFA is encouraging all its members to post a #Enough graphic on their social media platforms before the 24-hour boycott, and Oxford United players will be joining the campaign.
Simone Pound, Head of Equalities at the PFA, said:
“Football has the power to do so much good in the world. We must always try to use the sport’s popularity and influence to make positive change.
“Over the last few months we have seen a rise in appalling instances of racist abuse at grounds around the world, and on social media. We cannot stand by while too little is done to address this unacceptable behaviour.
“The PFA has always been at the forefront of tackling racism and we are reaffirming our commitment to all of our members. We will do all we can to put an end to the abuse players face on the pitch and online.”
Manchester United defender, Chris Smalling said:
“Throughout my career I have developed a thick skin against verbal abuse, justifying it as just ‘part of the game’ but the time has come for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to consider regulating their channels, taking responsibility for protecting the mental health of users regardless of age, race, sex or income.
“I understand that I am in an extremely privileged position and I am deeply thankful for that but, at the end of the day, we are all human. As a patron of a youth education charity it is my duty to use my platform as a voice for all, regardless of background. We have to take a greater stand against discrimination of all kinds.”
Tottenham and England defender, Danny Rose said:
“When I said that I can’t wait to see the back of football, it is because of the racism that I, and many other players, have been subjected to our entire careers.
“Football has a problem with racism.
“I don’t want any future players to go through what I’ve been through in my career. Collectively, we are simply not willing to stand-by while too little is done by football authorities and social media companies to protect players from this disgusting abuse.”
Watford captain, Troy Deeney said:
“My teammates and I have been on the receiving end of well documented abuse from a minority of narrow-minded, ignorant people both on social media and on the pitch. Any racism in football is too much, and it’s essential that we fight it wherever and whenever we see it.
“On Friday we are sending a message to anyone that abuses players - or anyone else - whether from the crowd or online, that we won’t tolerate it within football.
“The boycott is just one small step, but the players are speaking out with one voice against racism – enough is enough.”
Arsenal forward, Danielle Carter said:
“Football is more popular than it has ever been, but we have a discontented generation of players who won’t stand for racist abuse any longer. Enough is enough.
“We want to see social media companies take proper responsibility for racist abuse on their platforms and we want them to find solutions.”
Leicester City captain, Wes Morgan said:
“While there has been progress in the battle against racism within football, there are still far too many instances of players being abused. I’ve heard it in the stands and I’ve seen it online. We all have. That’s why, as players, we are coming together on Friday to say that more must now be done to eradicate racism from our game.”
Wycombe Wanderers striker, Adebayo Akinfenwa said:
“England players being abused, and instances of racism in European competitions and Premier League matches have been in the news over the last few months. I’m glad that we are paying attention to the terrible treatment players suffer. Further down the professional leagues in England, the situation can often be far worse. These players must never be forgotten about.
“I am pleased that players from all levels are taking a stand, and this boycott is an important first step. But, it’s essential that it is just the start, and that the campaign truly takes the fight to football associations, social media companies and clubs. I will continue to work with my teammates, colleagues and the PFA to say enough is enough.”