Kyle Walker-Peters says more needs to be done to prevent racial harassment online.
Southampton demanded action on social media platforms after calling the police following the online harassment of the defender.
The watchman was targeted with a number of offensive responses, including monkey emojis. instagram Post after Sunday’s 0-0 Premier League draw with Manchester United.
A racist term was used to refer to the united substitute Alejandro Garnachohe was left in agony after a challenge by the Saints player in the late game.
Walker-Peters said on Instagram: “I’m proud of a hard-earned point in a tough game at Old Trafford. Especially since we felt like we could have had a little more.
“It was a great effort by everyone. Special thanks to the traveling supporters who set out to move us forward.
“On a personal level, the racial abuse I have suffered is something that no actor or person should experience.
We need to be better and that’s more important than just football. More needs to be done to prevent this from happening again and again.
“Thank you to everyone who has sent messages of support since then, I am grateful to each and every one of you.
“Finally, it is never my intention for @garnacho7 to injure a colleague. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him on the field as soon as possible.”
An official statement from the Saints read: “In February 2021, the club made a statement that one of our young players was subjected to disgusting racial abuse following a game against Manchester United.
“More than two years later, we find ourselves in exactly the same situation: We are disgusted and disappointed by the behavior of those who harass players online because of the color of their skin.
“Equally frustrating is the lack of meaningful action in these two years from social media platforms that have allowed this type of hate to grow and grow.
“As we have said before, Southampton Football Club struggles every day to remove such people from our sport and community to protect our players, staff, Southampton fans and football fans around the world who recognize and celebrate the diversity that makes us football special.
“We have forwarded relevant messages to Hampshire Police in accordance with our normal procedures when dealing with these cases.
“We have also reported these posts to the relevant social media platforms.
“We can hope they finally pay attention to what remains the biggest problem, and that we don’t find ourselves repeating those words two years from now.”
Southampton’s stance was supported by the Football Association.
The statement on the FA’s official Twitter account read: “We strongly condemn the racist online harassment that continues to be directed against players throughout our game.
“We urge social media companies and authorities to take the strongest action possible, and we will not stop challenging this issue until concrete changes are made.”
MetaThe owner of Instagram has been in contact with Southampton regarding the issue and has removed the offensive comments from Walker-Peters’ account.
A spokesperson said, “We don’t want racial harassment on Instagram and we’ve removed some comments because they broke our rules.
“Over the last few years we’ve launched several ways to help protect people from being harassed, including our Secret Words feature that allows people to filter out offensive comments and DMs, and we’ve recently started turning this on by default for people with creative accounts.
“No one can fix this overnight, but we will continue to work to help protect our community from harassment and respond to valid legal requests to support police investigations.”
However, anti-discrimination organization Kick It Out has urged social media companies to go further in the fight against racial harassment.
The statement read: “We are appalled to hear reports of online abuse following Southampton FC’s Premier League match against Manchester United this weekend.
“Last month, we reiterated our call to social media companies and government to act quickly to implement meaningful reforms that protect football players, viewers and employees. Still, the silence from these platforms remains deafening.
“Social media companies urgently need to make meaningful reforms to protect people online, including a default option for hate filters to be ‘on’; this means that people only see this content when they ‘turn off’ the filter. We know that social media companies have the technology to implement these measures, but they seem reluctant to take action. Until they do, the sad truth is that online harassment will continue unchecked throughout the game.
“Kick It Out will continue to work closely with our partners across football to provide support to victims of discrimination and ensure that perpetrators of harassment are held accountable for their actions.”
Meanwhile, Hampshire Police confirmed that they have been asked to investigate a complaint from the Saints.
A spokesperson said: “We are working with Southampton FC following a report of racial harassment against a player following their match against Manchester United. We are in contact with the club and investigations into this matter are ongoing.”
Southampton took a similar action in February 2021 after then-19-year-old midfielder Alex Jankewitz received abusive messages on the internet after being ejected from the game after a 9-0 bruise at the hands of United in their first Premier League start.