Chelsea have thrown their weight behind calls for social media companies to do more to stamp out racism on their platforms after defender Reece James became the latest player to be subjected to vile abuse.
The England full-back revealed he had been targeted on Friday evening, posting the message “No room for RACISM!!” in response.
His club was quick to condemn the attack, which followed similar abuse directed at West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial this week.
Something needs to change.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 29, 2021
A statement issued via Chelsea’s official Twitter account said: “Everyone at Chelsea FC is disgusted with the racist abuse Reece James received on social media on Friday evening.
“This club finds racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour completely unacceptable. We totally condemn it.
“In sport, as in wider society, we must create a social media environment where hateful and discriminatory actions are as unacceptable online as they would be on the street.
“We add our voice to those urging social media platforms and regulatory authorities to take stronger, more effective and more urgent action against this despicable behaviour.
“Something needs to change and it needs to change now.”
James addressed the issue again in an Instagram post on Saturday.
He posted: “We all have a part to play in making this world a better & more equal place! Racism is completely unacceptable! Human is our only race! @instagram you must do more!! #notoracism”.
Chelsea team-mates Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta were among those to tweet in support for James.
— César Azpilicueta (@CesarAzpi) January 30, 2021
Speaking about the earlier incidents on Friday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters called for action to stamp out online hate.
He said: “I am appalled to see the racial abuse received by players this week.
“Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable and nobody should have to deal with it.
“Tackling online hate is a priority for football, and I believe social media companies need to do more.”
Relating to the abuse of Sawyers, West Midlands Police said a 49-year-old man from Kingswinford, near Birmingham, was questioned in custody on Friday evening.
The force’s football hate crime officer is also investigating reports of another racist comment towards the player.