Marcus Rashford has once again been thrust into the unfortunate ongoing discussion of online racial abuse when the Manchester United star was targetted for abuse in the wake of the Red Devils falling to Villarreal in the Europa League final.
United failed to make good on all their progress shown this season both at home and abroad, and though they finished runner-up to rivals Manchester City in the Premier League, many have already begun criticizing players – including Rashford – for failing to bring the club their first trophy since 2016-17. But criticism of poor performance is one thing, but fans turning to targeted racial abuse because a club failed to win a match is vile and utterly reprehensible.
At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far. For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying 👍🏾
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) May 26, 2021
According to Rashford, he has been subjected to no less than 70 instances of racial comments and slurs sent to his social media accounts as of midnight, just hours after United lost to Unai Emery’s La Liga outfit on penalties after playing out a 1-1 draw through extra time in Gdańsk.
This has hardly been the first time that Rashford has been subjected to bigoted words levied in his direction when the United and England forward was a victim of abuse back in January. Quoted with saying that the incident was an example of “humanity and social media at its worst,” Rashford has been heavily involved on the front-lines of the constant battle when it comes to censorship online regarding abuse online of any kind.
In the wake of past incidents, Rashford has called for the social media accounts of those responsible for targeted racial abuse across all platforms to have their profiles permanently banned, stating “It’s very easy to make four or five accounts but if you have to block them all, then block them all.”
The unfortunate reality is that many feel that anger brought on by the football club they support failing to meet their expectations as fans is justification enough to abuse a player based on the color of his or her skin. It is an issue that exists in all corners of Europe, with other prominent Black players such as Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Eboue, and Sully Muntari all being subjected to racist slurs and comments being flung in their direction during matches for Barcelona, Galatasaray, and Pescara in the past.
Problems persist on the pitch between players as well, with Rangers’ Glen Kamara racially abused by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela during the knockout stages of the Europa League, with Kudela eventually being suspended for 10-matches by UEFA and his appeal being thrown out.
Despite the actions of organizations like Kick It Out and Premier League clubs having players take a knee before kick-off in support of Black Lives Matter, racism is still very much an issue on social media and in football. It is imperative that more must be done.