Manchester United Women manager Casey Stoney has stressed this weekend’s social media boycott is “not enough”.
Governing bodies and teams from football and other sports are taking part in the boycott running from 3pm on Friday to 11.59pm on Monday in a show of solidarity against discriminatory abuse on social media platforms.
United forward Lauren James is among a long list of footballers to have suffered racist abuse online in recent times.
And after James was sent monkey emojis on Instagram, Stoney earlier this week posted a message on the platform, accompanied by a screenshot of the abuse, saying: “@instagram is this what you think is acceptable? @zuck (Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, which owns Instagram) are these the values and behaviours you align with? Do more!!!!!”
When asked at a subsequent press conference about that and the coming boycott, Stoney said: “It’s not enough, because we go silent for four days, which is part of it, because you are taking away the social media influence, but I think you can have a voice too.
“Like I said on my social media, is that the behaviours and values they align to? If it isn’t, do something about it. Because they’re the only people that can do something.
“The more people that boycott, if millions and millions and millions were to boycott, when it starts hitting their pockets, they might do something about it.
“But while I see my player be racially abused on a daily basis I will stand up and I will speak out and I won’t accept it. It’s my responsibility to understand, learn more and challenge it.”
In February Stoney described racist abuse James had suffered online as “utterly disgusting” and called for action from social media companies and the Government.
At her press conference ahead of Sunday’s Women’s Super League clash with Bristol City, she added with regard to 19-year-old James: “I met Lauren when she was 14 at Arsenal, so I’ve seen her as a young kid.
“She has grown up with me now and you build a relationship with these players and you care about them, no matter their age.
“I’m here with these players more than I am with my kids. I have a responsibility and a duty of care for them and I have a responsibility to stand up.”
Liverpool midfielder Rachel Furness admits the sexism directed towards women footballers is “laughable” but nevertheless tiring.
The Northern Ireland international accepts she has not been subjected to some of the more serious abuse like the racist comments directed at team-mate Rinsola Babajide recently but said there was a pervading trend on social media platforms.
“I’ve had nothing which would cause me to have sleepless nights about it but I know close friends that have and it does affect their day-to-day lives,” she told the PA news agency.
“It’s like ‘Get back in the kitchen’ – that old chestnut. It is laughable but it gets tiring.
“In the past it’s been ‘She doesn’t look like a footballer, she looks overweight’. Not every male footballer looks the same and not every female footballer looks the same.
“Why should we have to go through this on social media platforms? We are people doing our jobs, the jobs we love.
“It is frustrating we have to do something like this and I’ll keep doing it if it gives Instagram and Twitter a kick to actually want to do something about the abuse which is coming through.
“It is the same old story every week of people getting abused on social media and it’s not right.”