Shaka Hislop: Sport must use boycott to seize chance to stamp out racist abuse

Taking a knee file photo
Taking a knee file photo (PA Wire)
12:50pm, Thu 29 Apr 2021
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Shaka Hislop believes sport must use the upcoming social media boycott to seize the chance to stamp out online racist abuse.

Show Racism the Red Card’s honorary president Hislop has welcomed the blackout but wants it to lead to further action.

Clubs, players, the Football Association, Premier League and EFL will go silent on social media in a show of solidarity against racism and discrimination from 3pm on Friday to 11.59pm on Monday.

The Professional Footballers’ Association, League Managers Association, PGMOL, Kick It Out, Women in Football and the Football Supporters’ Association will also turn off their social media accounts.

Former Newcastle and Portsmouth goalkeeper Hislop told the PA news agency: “I applaud the boycott but this isn’t going to go much of a way to solving the issue and stopping racist abuse if we don’t take the opportunity this boycott affords us to find ways to address the racist abuse directly.

“What we have to endure online has been left unchecked for far too long and something had to be done, not just in an effort to highlight the issue, but for us to come together and figure out what the solutions are.

“I don’t see it stopping the abuse but I feel it provides an opportunity for so many against racism to be a part of something and to show support.

Arsenal v Portsmouth (PA Archive)

“If there is someone who is willing to send a racist tweet to any black player on Thursday I don’t think what happens between Friday and Monday is going to change that.

“But the vast majority, of every ethnicity, are really disgusted with what they are seeing and what so many black players have to endure.

“It allows us to start having those conversations about what true change means and how we come about it. That is the very important step this moment is.”

English cricket and Premiership rugby will join the blackout while Swansea and Birmingham switched off their social media for a week earlier this month after Swans striker Jamal Lowe was abused on Instagram.

But Hislop believes the game needs to set a better example after Rangers’ Glen Kamara was suspended for three games for confronting Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela following Rangers’ Europa League defeat in March.

Kudela was handed a 10-game ban by UEFA this month having been found guilty of racist behaviour towards Kamara.

Glen Kamara and Ondrej Kudela File Photo (PA Wire)

“I’ve always felt the game can lead by example, football stadiums are a fair reflection of society,” said Hislop, with Show Racism the Red Card celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“Right now football starts with taking a knee and we have also seen in recent weeks Kudela from Prague be suspended – rather leniently in my opinion – but also Glen Kamara for reacting to being racially abused.

“We are talking about a moment in the game’s history where players are taking a knee to highlight racial equality before games yet a black player is suspended for reacting to racist abuse.

“These are things the game can do within itself, how it polices and punishes racist abuse.”

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