The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Check out our latest issue

Community reacts to Man United players getting racially abused via Instagram

Photo used with permission from Kirill Venediktov/wikimediacommons
Manchester United and England player Marcus Rashford was one of four Manchester United players racially abused following games in the Premier League. Along with Rashford, fellow teammates Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were subject to racial abuse after United’s 2-1 loss to Sheffield United. All Incidents came to light through Instagram.

Throughout 2020 and the start of 2021, a large movement against racism has grown in the Premier League. Players have taken a brief knee to protest racism before every game, which began after last season’s restart in June 2020. 

Although the players’ protests have helped raise awareness, they haven’t stopped racist abuse on social media.

The night after Manchester United’s 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield United as well as the following day, defender Axel Tuanzebe and forward Anthony Martial received racial abuse on Instagram. 

United’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal also yielded more racism towards Martial and Marcus Rashford via Instagram. Tuanzebe received even more racial abuse following United’s 3-3 draw against Everton, even though he only played for around two minutes. 

This current environment of abuse is going to make it so athletes are not going to want to continue

— Olivia Lang (’22)

Manchester United fan Jory Matthews (’21) said he felt particularly surprised by these incidents. 

“I’m shocked at the racism that has been inflicted onto our players by our own fan base,” he said. “It is disgusting and extremely outdated.”

Similar to Matthews, Raaghav Aaditya (’23) said he was saddened by the racial abuse the United players received. 

“When I heard about it I thought to myself, ‘How is this still going on?’” he said. “Especially after the BLM movements, I don’t understand how people can think it is okay to say things like this.”

In response to the racial abuse Manchester United FC released a statement via their website after the events. “Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse received by players via social media after last night’s game. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.“

In addition, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire tweeted his support for the players.

Along with United’s statement, Patrick Gallagher (’24) believes more of the players’ teammates and friends should make a statement against the incidents. 

“If professional footballers can promote equality in and outside of the game, they can influence their millions of followers to do the same,” he said. 

However, Aaditya said though the situation was upsetting, it was well handled. 

“It’s very hard when people are doing it over a screen, but I was impressed with the statements made by The Football Association,” he said. 

Since all three affected players are in their early 20s, Matthews said the abuse they received could potentially stunt their development.

 “They are three young players trying to make it at a massive club like Manchester United,” he said. “When racism gets thrown around after a bad performance, it can be extremely discouraging and have negative long term impacts for the players development.”

I’m shocked at the racism that has been inflicted onto our players by our own fan base

— Jory Matthews ('21)

Forward Lauren James, who plays for the Manchester United women’s team, was also subject to racial abuse in early February via Instagram. Man Utd W.F.C currently sits second in the Women’s Super League, even though they were only created in 2018. Olivia Lang (’22) said she was disappointed to see the racial bigotry faced by James. 

“There is already a huge disparity between men and women in sports, especially in the U.K., and sadly it’s also present in terms of race as well,” she said.

Lang also said she questions if athletes would continue playing if these incidents were to keep happening.

 “It’s heartbreaking because I think sports are a great outlet of entertainment,” she said. “This current environment of abuse is going to make it so athletes are not going to want to continue.”

Gallagher said people on social media should spread awareness in order to prevent further instances of racism in the sports world. 

If users keep reposting and spreading awareness, it will become the top priority for companies like Facebook and Instagram to hold racist commenters accountable,” he said. “Their accounts should not only be deleted, but they should face greater consequences as there is absolutely no room for racism on social media.”

Similarly, Aaditya said social media networks must get involved and stop racism from appearing in the comments, and more players need to support those who have been affected.

 “I think they should block the offenders and not allow them back on that platform considering the severity of what they’ve done,” he said. “Players being in the eye of the media need to constantly use their platform to provide support for those that have experienced racial abuse.”


Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Spencer Towfighi
Spencer Towfighi, Lead Sports Editor
SSpencer Towfighi (’23) is the Lead Sports Editor for The Standard. Towfighi is entering his second year as an editor, and he enjoys writing sports features and articles regarding social justice issues in sports. Outside of The Standard, he spends his time playing football and tennis, working on the Social Justice Council and spending time with his friends.

Comments (0)

All The Standard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *