Jordan Henderson hands control of social media accounts to anti-bullying company Cybersmile as Liverpool captain takes stand against ‘horrendous’ racist abuse April 8, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has announced he is handing his social media accounts to Cybersmile as football steps up the fight to stamp out racist abuse in the game.
Reds trio Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane became the latest in a long list of players to be targeted on social media after Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg defeat to Real Madrid.
Henderson, who missed the match due to injury, posted a series of messages to his Twitter page on Thursday afternoon, confirming that he was joining the movement by partnering with Cybersmile.
“Over the past few years, I’ve seen some of my friends, team-mates, other players, people within football, out of football, the wider society, suffer some horrendous abuse online,” he explained in an accompanying video.
“And still, I don’t really see much changing.
“Again [Tuesday] night, some of my team-mates were racially abused online after a football match, and to me that’s just unacceptable.
“I have been thinking about deleting all social media, but I’m not quite sure who that helps or what it does.
“So I came across Cybersmile, who are a foundation that educate, support and advise people who suffer from social media abuse or online bullying.
“And I’ll be partnering with them over the next few weeks, for them to have full control of all of my social media channels to basically promote what they do, how to help people.
Earlier on Thursday, Swansea City announced a seven-day sabbatical from posting content on their social media channels in an attempt to tackle online abuse and discrimination.
Three Swansea players – Yan Dhanda, Ben Cabango and Jamal Lowe – were racially abused on social media recently and the Championship club has declared ‘enough is enough’ by making a strong stand.
Swansea said in a statement: “From 5pm today all first-team players, those in the academy professional phase (under-23s and under-18s), Swansea City Ladies, Community Trust, senior club staff and official club channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok) will not post any content for a period of seven days.
“As a football club, we have seen several of our players subjected to abhorrent abuse in the past seven weeks alone, and we feel it is right to take a stand against behaviour that is a blight on our sport, and society at large.
“We will always be unwavering in our support of our players, staff, supporters and the community that we proudly represent, and we are united as a club on this issue.
“We also want to stand with players from other clubs who have had to endure vile discrimination on social media platforms.
“As a club we are also acutely aware of how social media can impact on the mental health of players and staff, and we hope our strong stance will highlight the wider effects of abuse.
“Additionally, chief executive Julian Winter has sent a letter to Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Facebook’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg to reiterate the club’s stance and desire to see social media companies introduce more stringent policing and punishments for those guilty of the appalling and cowardly abuse that has sadly become far too common.”
Swans boss Steve Cooper admitted he hopes Premier League clubs will follow his side’s example and boycott social media in the fight against online abuse and discrimination.
He said: “It’s been a powerful decision and hopefully it’s gained a lot of traction. Even if it helps a small bit then that’ll be a good thing.
“First and foremost we want to show the support internally. We want to join the bigger fight against discrimination in general.
“If this gets people thinking about what else can be done, then good.
“It would be great (if others joined Swansea), but it’s a club prerogative with how they deal with forms of discrimination.
“But for us, it’s real. Unfortunately some of our players have been on the wrong end of abuse, and we’re not standing for any of it.”