Sheffield United striker Rhian Brewster subjected to ‘disgusting’ racial abuse
Sheffield United striker Rhian Brewster has revealed he has become the latest footballer to suffer racial abuse on social media.
The 20-year-old former Liverpool forward has made public an abusive message he received on his Instagram account.
United have thrown their support behind the player and called on authorities to take action.
The Blades tweeted: “As a club we applaud Rhian for bringing the disgusting message sent to him to light.
“We will now support him and work with him, the Premier League and all the relevant authorities to ensure the person behind this post is brought to justice.”
The Premier League also backed the player and the club’s stance.
“The #PL stands alongside @SheffieldUnited and Rhian Brewster in opposing this abuse and discrimination. There is #NoRoomForRacism in football, or anywhere,” it tweeted.
When United caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom was asked at a press conference on Friday about the abuse aimed at Brewster and what more could be done to eliminate racism from the game, he said: “My answer would be there’s got to be a hell of a lot more done.
“The powers that be, social media platforms… There’s got to be a stance made at some point. It’s too easy to hide, it’s too easy to just put things out there, there’s no accountability. Anything can be said, anything at all, and that’s what hurts.
“If you’re talking about the profession we’re in, people are wanting engagement with players and wanting to understand them, but things like this are just going to drive everyone involved in the game further away from the fans, and rightly so – how can people expect players who are getting abuse to engage more with fans? It’s going to drive people further away.
“So while there’s a lot of work being done and the fact it’s getting flagged up is a start, we’re nowhere near where we need to be with it because until we get that accountability and until we can reprimand every person who does something like this, then we can’t stop.”
Instagram’s owner Facebook announced last month it would impose stricter penalties on perpetrators of abuse, including removing accounts.
Instagram did not comment directly on the Brewster issue when contacted by the PA news agency but said players are urged to report such matters to them so their procedures can be initiated.
It said attacks on protected characteristics including race, religion, nationality and sexual orientation will not be tolerated.
Brewster is one of a number of players to have been racially abused on social media in recent months, including Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Antonio Rudiger, Reece James and Eddie Nketiah.