29 April 2021

Casey Stoney says social media boycott is not enough and urges platforms to act

29 April 2021

Manchester United Women manager Casey Stoney has stressed this weekend’s social media boycott is “not enough”.

Governing bodies and teams from football and other sports are taking part in the boycott running from 3pm on Friday to 11.59pm on Monday in a show of solidarity against discriminatory abuse on social media platforms.

United forward Lauren James is among a long list of footballers to have suffered racist abuse online in recent times.

And after James was sent monkey emojis on Instagram, Stoney earlier this week posted a message on the platform, accompanied by a screenshot of the abuse, saying: “@instagram is this what you think is acceptable? @zuck (Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, which owns Instagram) are these the values and behaviours you align with? Do more!!!!!”

When asked at a subsequent press conference about that and the coming boycott, Stoney said: “It’s not enough, because we go silent for four days, which is part of it, because you are taking away the social media influence, but I think you can have a voice too.

“Like I said on my social media, is that the behaviours and values they align to? If it isn’t, do something about it. Because they’re the only people that can do something.

“The more people that boycott, if millions and millions and millions were to boycott, when it starts hitting their pockets, they might do something about it.

“But while I see my player be racially abused on a daily basis I will stand up and I will speak out and I won’t accept it. It’s my responsibility to understand, learn more and challenge it.”

In February Stoney described racist abuse James had suffered online as “utterly disgusting” and called for action from social media companies and the Government.

At her press conference ahead of Sunday’s Women’s Super League clash with Bristol City, she added with regard to 19-year-old James: “I met Lauren when she was 14 at Arsenal, so I’ve seen her as a young kid.

“She has grown up with me now and you build a relationship with these players and you care about them, no matter their age.

“I’m here with these players more than I am with my kids. I have a responsibility and a duty of care for them, and I have a responsibility to stand up.”

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