'Makes me sick': Football rocked by fresh racism 'disgrace'

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Pictured here, Anthony Martial looks on before a match for Manchester United.
Anthony Martial was the subject of a series of disgusting racist online attacks after Manchester United's draw with West Brom. Pic: Getty

Manchester United star Anthony Martial has been targeted in a series of disgusting racist attacks online, after his side's surprise slip-up in the English Premier League.

The Red Devils lost more ground on runaway league leaders Manchester City after a 1-1 draw with struggling West Brom at The Hawthorns.

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Mbaye Diagne gave West Brom the lead on two minutes against United but Bruno Fernandes volleyed home the equaliser just before halftime at The Hawthorns.

Harry Maguire thought he had won a penalty for United but it was overturned after video review and the England defender hit the post in the dying moments but West Brom hung on for a point.

In a shocking aftermath to the disappointing result for United, French forward Anthony Martial was subjected to a torrent of online abuse from furious fans.

Martial, who along with Axel Tuanzebe was targeted last month, was again on the receiving end after playing the first 66 minutes of the match.

A number of Instagram users left racist words and symbols in the comments section of Martial's most recent post - which was from 16 weeks ago.

Instagram earlier this week announced new measures to tackle online abuse in the wake of the latest spate of sickening racist attacks on footballers.

The social media network told the PA news agency on Sunday evening that it is looking into the matter and has already removed a number of racist comments.

The latest racism controversy to rock the football world left fans sickened on social media.

Incident makes 'mockery' of Instagram's stance

Manchester United have also been contacted and said their position remained unchanged from the statement issued at the end of January, when they said they were "disgusted" by the abuse by "anonymous mindless idiots" and urged social media platforms and regulatory authorities "to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour".

Troy Townsend, head of development at anti-racism charity Kick It Out, feels the latest incident "makes a mockery" of Instagram's new "tougher" stance.

"Let me break my Sunday silence and just say here we go again," he posted on Twitter alongside a screengrab showing some of the racist comments. "It's so predictable now, it makes a mockery of Instagram's comments this week.

Seen here, Marcus Rashford takes a knee during a match for Manchester Uinted.
Martial's teammate Marcus Rashford has also been subjected to vile racist abuse in recent weeks. Pic: Getty

"I wonder if this account will be barred for a month and collect their 'Insta slap on the wrist' and 'don't do that again' talk."

United's Marcus Rashford and Lauren James, West Brom's Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea full-back Reece James - brother of Lauren - have also been targeted in the last few weeks.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addressed the issue at a press conference on February 1.

Asked if he thinks it is possible to stop, the Norwegian said: "We all know there's freedom of speech but this crosses a line of what's unacceptable.

"It's absolutely unacceptable behaviour in 2021 with the education. So we have to work with the platforms and they've got to be stronger to make sure that we stop this."

with AAP

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