Luke: Social media blackout shows we mean it
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is fed up with social media abuse and is glad the Premier League clubs are boycotting the platforms this weekend.
Clubs and players are joining together in a social media boycott from 15:00 BST on Friday 30 April to 23:59 BST on Monday 3 May in order to take a stance on the abuse, discrimination and racism directed towards players and those connected to football.
Shaw himself is one of the players who has been targeted for social media abuse in the past. And ahead of what is set to be a very special weekend in English football, our no. 23 is clear that a boycott is the right move to combat online discrimination.
“People will say it doesn’t [affect them] but I’m sure people have had abuse,” Luke told Stewart Gardner in an exclusive club interview.
“It’s been going on for a number of years now. Of course, I’ve been a target for a few of those years. It needs to stop, something needs to happen. I think it’s way too easy for someone to create an account and abuse the players, hiding behind their platforms. And they know they can get away with it. It’s not right, something needs to happen, something needs to change.”
Luke is hopeful that social media giants like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will pay close attention to this weekend’s boycott.
“This will show that we’re all together in it, you know, with the social media blackout,” he said.
“Hopefully the platforms can look and see how we are reacting to it and hopefully make a change. It’s something they need to do because it’s not acceptable. Far too many get away with abusing players, like I say, hiding behind fake profiles and not getting any trouble for doing it.”
The England international has been target for abuse on social media himself and says the comments on social media doesn’t affect him anymore. However, he wants to stand up so other players, in particular the younger ones, won’t have to deal with online hate in the future.
“I’m past that stage now, I’ve had it for a couple of years now,” our left-back said about feeling down after mean social media comments towards him.
“I’m one that brushes it aside, but it’s not acceptable. You know, especially for the young players that are very active on social media and read a lot of stuff and will get very hurt and down from the abuse because, you know, people read stuff. The best thing to do nowadays is not read anything.
“What you do and how you play, there’s always one person who can end up ruining your day and make you think about their comment and what they said. Even if you’ve been brilliant and you have 100 brilliant comments, the one comment that isn’t positive can affect the player a lot. Hopefully we can make change and come together and do that.”