Football's social media boycott: Ian Wright & Alan Shearer share powerful talk

This weekend, social media has fallen silent throughout the world of football. 

Many clubs, broadcasters and players will boycott Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from 3pm on Friday until 11.59pm on Monday in a protest against online abuse. 

Sadly, this season more than ever racism has blighted the game with countless footballers revealing they have been targeted. 

Indeed, even as the social media blackout approached, it emerged that Manchester United had banned six supporters - including some season-ticket holders - for racially abusing Heung-min Son during the recent win over Tottenham Hotspur. 

Such discrimination has been a stain on football for decades and Ian Wright has often spoken about the abuse he suffered as a player. 

That has continued in his role as a pundit. In February, the Arsenal legend tweeted after a teenager in Ireland who had sent him racist abuse escaped a criminal conviction. 

"An individual wished death upon me because of my skin colour," Wright wrote. 

"No judge's claims of 'naivety' or 'immaturity' will ever be acceptable to us. The supposed immaturity and naivety are never any comfort. So yeah I am disappointed. I'm tired. We are all tired."

It's hoped this weekend's boycott will force social media companies to take a tougher stance against the perpetrators of online abuse. 

And before beginning their boycott, the Premier League's official account shared a powerful video of a conversation between Wright and Alan Shearer. 

"If you want to know why social media companies have to do more to #StopOnlineAbuse, give this video of myself and Ian Wright a watch #NoRoomForRacism," Shearer tweeted. 

You can see the full talk below: 

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Thierry Henry set the example by announcing he would withdraw from social platforms until more was done to battle racism. 

In unveiling the conversation between Wright and Shearer, the Premier League added: "We know this video will not stop online abuse, but in sharing this, we want to highlight the seriousness of what we’re demanding of social media platforms. We know that a boycott alone will not eradicate it, which is why we continue to take proactive steps to call for change.

"We will not stop challenging social media companies until discriminatory online abuse is removed from our game and wider society."

Many fans were moved by Wright's honesty. 

"This is horrific! Very brave of Wrighty this! We must all be in this together to stop online hate," one replied. 

Another added: "Wow! Absolutely shocking. These people need to face consequences to what they say. Shouldn’t be able to hide behind a screen and abuse anybody!"

"Absolutely sickening. I'm aware things like this go on but until you read it/have it read out to you like this it's difficult to comprehend people actually think this way," another fan said. "And to get these type of messages on a daily basis?! Words fail me. So sorry you have to suffer this Wrighty."

Kat Lucas

Interested in: Tottenham Hotspur, Cricket, Football

Journalist covering football, cricket and boxing. Always Tottenham Hotspur, invariably disappointed.