West Brom report ‘abhorrent’ online racist abuse of Romaine Sawyers to police

Nick Mashiter, PA
·4-min read

West Brom have contacted the police after Romaine Sawyers was racially abused on social media.

Midfielder Sawyers was sent a racist message online during Tuesday’s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Sawyers was at fault for City’s third goal as the Baggies, second bottom of the Premier League, were thumped at The Hawthorns.

“West Bromwich Albion has today contacted West Midlands Police to report a racist message sent to Romaine Sawyers on social media,” a club statement read.

“Everyone at the club is appalled by the abhorrent message which was sent during Tuesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester City.

“The club has a proud history of confronting all forms of discrimination and will assist the authorities with their inquiries, seeking the toughest available legal punishment, as well as a lifetime ban from The Hawthorns for the individual responsible.

“Albion will offer Romaine the relevant support required at this time and continues with its long-standing commitment to help rid football of racism.

Romaine Sawyers was racially abused online during West Brom's Premier League defeat to Manchester City
Romaine Sawyers was racially abused online during West Brom’s Premier League defeat to Manchester City (Michael Regan/PA)

“There is No Room For Racism. Anywhere.”

Troy Townsend, head of development at anti-racism charity Kick It Out, has reached out to Sawyers to offer his support while the Premier League also backed the 29-year-old and West Brom on Twitter.

A post read: “The Premier League stands alongside @WBA in condemning and opposing this abuse, and discrimination in any form There is #NoRoomForRacism in football, or anywhere.”

Sawyers came through the youth ranks at the Baggies but was released in 2013 and joined Walsall.

He moved to Brentford in 2016 but returned to The Hawthorns in 2019 to help them back into the Premier League last season.

Albion boss Sam Allardyce offered his support to Sawyers and questioned what could be done to stop online abuse.

He said: “It leaves a big question about whether reporting it is enough. Romaine – or any black person across the country – should not have to be open to any type of abuse on social media.

“He is extremely upset as anybody would be. More than Romaine have suffered throughout football in the last few days.

“It does become a greater thing to put right but who does it lie with? Should a player take legal action? That is an avenue for the PFA and all the players to get together about and choose the right way to go. How do we hold people accountable?

“Social media sites need to act in a more responsible way. We have to do our best to cut this out.”

It came after Manchester United condemned the “mindless idiots” who racially abused Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial on social media.

Wednesday’s shock 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United sparked racist online abuse aimed at the pair after defender Tuanzebe inadvertently turned in Oliver Burke’s winner.

Racist terms and monkey emojis were put on Instagram comments of the pair’s most recent posts.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: “It’s just incredible that we have these scenes still or this abuse in 2021.

“We’ve been campaigning for a long time now with the Premier League and, to be honest, I think it’s working but there are still some people that haven’t got it, hide behind social media, be anonymous and it’s unacceptable.

“It’s disgusting and the players and everyone… we’ve spoken to each other, of course, and they’re fine, to put it that way.

“They’re not Man United fans in my head anyway when this happens. We’re all standing behind every single one of our players.”

Solskjaer said the pair are doing OK in the circumstances but believes social media platforms need to do more.

“I think the social media platforms need to be looked at, yeah,” the United boss added.

“If you can create an anonymous account and you can abuse people, of course it’s not right.

“We’ll work together with everyone to stop this nonsense.”