Harry Maguire takes the knee

Maguire, Cole and Yorke condemn social media abuse

Thursday 28 January 2021 17:12

Past and present Reds have united to condemn the racist abuse directed at players on social media after Wednesday’s Premier League defeat to Sheffield United.

The club issued a statement on Thursday morning to communicate its disgust at the messages and reiterate its zero-tolerance policy towards any form of racism or discrimination.

Club captain Harry Maguire echoed this view, saying those who had targeted the players ‘made him sick’ and should not be associated as supporters of Manchester United.

“Yeah, it’s disgusting. I woke up this morning, I was devastated, I was hurt with the result and then I read what’s happened on social media to my team-mates,” said Maguire. “It made me feel sick.

“There’s no place for it. They’re definitely no fans of this club, we don’t associate with them. We don’t want their support, so no, it’s so disappointing.

“It hurts that it’s still going on in this day and age. The club have acted, but for sure something needs to change.”

Several other United first-teamers joined Maguire in posting messages of support on social media, including Scott McTominay, Fred and Marcus Rashford.

Former striker Andy Cole, who has spoken in depth previously on the racism both he and son Devante suffered during their careers, also had strong words of condemnation for the abusers.

“I’m always embarrassed by things like that; embarrassed by these individuals. They’re keyboard warriors,” Cole told us.

“Nine [times] out of 10, if that individual was standing in front of whoever they’re abusing, the first thing they would be doing is asking for his autograph. They wouldn’t have the cojones to even mention what they’ve mentioned on social media.

“They are all faceless and a bunch of idiots, if I’m brutally honest. I’m not going to lie but I’m not going to say what I really want to say as I’ll get in trouble. But they are idiots, total idiots.”

Cole says that, although racism in football will always reflect what is happening in the wider world, internet companies and social networks must do more to prevent this type of thing from occurring.

“It’s not incredible for me because it is what it is. It’s been slowly creeping itself back into society,” Andy added. “I think we’ve had a problem the majority of the time but it was always swept under the carpet because it makes it easier if it’s swept under the carpet and we make out things are perfect.

“They’re far from perfect so, when things like his continue to rear its head, it’s for people at the highest level to start making these decisions. Those are, like I’ve said before, the people on social media platforms, who actually run them, can do a hell of a lot more, instead of saying we can’t do it.

“Yes, you can. The same way you let people join these platforms, you can take these people off these platforms.”

Cole's old strike partner Dwight Yorke is sad that people continue to react in such a way and insisted that it's time proper punishments were meted out for those who are found to be racist.

“At the end of the day, people get carried away and it becomes more personal rather than about a game of football,” Yorke offered.

“The best team won on the day or he was a better player. They shouldn’t be getting abused and getting racial discrimination because of their skin colour.

“It’s very degrading for anybody. I think we’re all equal and it should not be any other way. If anybody steps out of line they should be punished for it.

“It’s very unfortunate, as I said, and we need to speak out a bit more and address the situation far more than we are doing. I’m seeing steps are taken but we still need to see more drastic steps and drastic measures to people online and on social media.

“The people making these remarks must be punished according to their crimes.”