A soccer team in Scotland has announced a one-week total boycott of social media. Beginning from Thursday, the entire team of Rangers FC will stay off all social media platforms to register their displeasure at how players and officials of the club have been subjected to online abuse.
British soccer has been a subject of various online abuse in the last couple of months; and despite several warnings and threats of boycott, things have grown worse. The Rangers FC case is unprecedented in the history of sports in Britain. This effort is aimed at not only protecting the players, but sending a strong message to Twitter, Facebook and the likes.
Starting at 7pm Thursday, all players and management of the Scottish champions will not post any message on social media for one week. In a club statement per Skysports, the club said:
“Rangers can confirm that as of 7pm this evening, our players and management will take part in a week-long boycott of all social media channels.
“This is to underline the ongoing concerns over a lack of accountability and responsibility from social media outlets.
“In particular, we are concerned with the daily racist abuse our players have to endure, and believe that although social media can be a very positive and healthy platform for communication, there is undoubted concern the levels of hate are now spiralling out of control.”
The decision by the players has the backing of the club’s top hierarchy with Stewart Robertson MD confirming the action:
“We can confirm that as a board and as a club, we are fully behind our players and management on this issue.
“Furthermore, we have arranged to meet Facebook and Instagram to underline our growing concerns.
“Having spoken to a wide range of clubs across the United Kingdom, we know these concerns are shared by all clubs and it is fair to say everyone is losing patience with the lack of action from social media companies.
Two other British club’s have also announced a boycott, which begins tonight as well. Swansea City and Birmingham City will also stay off the social media for one week in reaction to what is described as “abhorrent” racial abuse on the social media.
In March, former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Thierry Henry quit social media in protest against racism. Thierry, a former French international and one of the most respected voices online, said the problem is “too toxic to ignore” and vowed not to return until the “abuse is with the same vigour and ferocity.”
Henry has a combined 15 million followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook; and that is a huge number. The message is quite clear; his decision to quit social media will most likely be felt far and near.