I am pleased to see that English rugby is joining the football-led boycott of social media this weekend to try to force the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to take meaningful action to address online racist abuse.
Yesterday Premiership Rugby confirmed that its clubs would be boycotting social media platforms from 3pm this Friday to 11.59pm on Monday and today the RFU confirmed that it would also join the boycott, with all RFU-run social media channels, which include England Rugby, Premier 15s, Championship and GB7s, observing the blackout.
No sportsperson (or anyone else for that matter) should have to endure abuse online due to their skin colour and I do find it astonishing how people think it is ok to go online and post such bigoted bile. Why do they do it? Because, for the most part, they get away with it – hence the need for the various platforms to take proper and effective action, both preventive and after the event.
It remains to be seen how successful such a move will be. It is about time, however, that the various platforms took racist abuse seriously and so the boycott, which is also being supported by cricket, cycling and tennis as well as various sports broadcasters and sponsors, is therefore to be applauded.
And, whilst I may have no influence whatsoever, I am also happy to state that this boycott does have my total support.
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