This weekend, there will be a mass blackout across all social media platforms in the fight against racism. It will begin on Friday 29th April at 3pm and end at 11.59pm on Monday 3rd of May. This comes after social media boycotts from clubs such as Rangers & Swansea after players received abuse online.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has removed himself from all walks of social media all together back in March as he said it was “not a safe place to be”.
Henry also went on to say, “I like the fact that people actually realize that when we come together, it’s… powerful. I realized that maybe me coming of it might create a little wave in the media and it did, and making people answer some questions. So now, when I saw what’s been happening and what’s going to happen at the weekend. I was like: ‘OK, OK, it’s a start, it’s a start.”
Many of Englands largest organisations such as the Premier League, FA, English Football League & UEFA have all united in favour of the social media blackout. With further teams and athletes such as England Rugby, and Formula 1 drivers, Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russel announcing they will also take part in the blackout.
Former Reading, West Ham & Newcastle goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has said during an interview that “If there is somebody who is willing to send a racist message to any black player on Thursday, what happens on over the weekend isn’t going to change their opinion before Monday.”
Tony Burnett, the CEO of footballs equity and inclusion organisation, Kick It Out has said he is “sick of platitudes” and “wants to see action“. But has said he is fully behind the blackout happening this weekend.
I managed to catch up with life long Arsenal fan and video editor Carys, as he spoke to me about his thoughts on the social media blackout and why it is just not enough.
Will you be partaking in the social media blackout? If not, why?
“No, I don’t believe a blackout will do anything to create wholesale changes, especially to those who are seemingly uneducated”.
What more needs to be done to prevent players being racially abused online? Is there a better way these huge footballing organisations could get the message across…can they do more?
“There was a lot of energy and outcry put towards the rumoured ESL, that same energy needs to be put towards the racism issue. ID checks if possible, point deductions, sterner action from UEFA would be helpful for once. Onana had a longer ban from football than Kudela and it was the latter who was the racist one.”
Do you think the blackout will help reduce, or even stop racial abuse online?
“I don’t think so, this is an issue that has gone on for years that virtue signalling in itself simply doesn’t eradicate it. Lots of thought needed.”
With just hours until the blackout, now is the time to do something, take a stand, help kick racism and abuse out of our beautiful game.