Last week, the Football Association branded Twitter attacks on England internationals Ashley Cole and Ashley Young as “appalling and unacceptable”. Both players missed penalties in the shootout defeat to Italy prompting vile reactions over the social networking site.
Whilst the players may have expected some criticism for their misses, the racial abuse was deplorable and is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. Two teenage boys were given a police lecture for their racist tweets, but the Metropolitan Police are still investigating the perpetrator who made the national headlines.
Similar grotesque abuse was directed towards Fabrice Muamba following his collapse during a football match between Spurs and Bolton. In a critical state, with his heart having stopped beating for 78 minutes, he was rescued thanks to the efforts of the medics from both football clubs and the doctors from the London Chest Hospital. However, rather than sympathy and messages of support, one Twitter user thought it appropriate to tweet racist comments. He was later revealed as Liam Stacey and was jailed for his actions.
Issues about racism have become too regular in football recently, despite the highly effective Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football campaign. On and off the pitch, the fans and the players are ruining the spectacle with their vitriol. Great players like Ashley Cole, who is the sixth most capped player in England’s history and has played the most tournament games for the country, should have to experience this type of treatment is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, some people exploit the internet’s anonymity to troll and make comments that they would never utter in person and believe that there won’t be any consequences. Although it is difficult to police, the authorities have been good at identifying perpetrators and with this current investigation by the Metropolitan Police, it is clear that actions do have consequences.