English Premiership

Anthony Martial subjected to further racist abuse after Manchester United draw

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Anthony Martial (Getty Images)
Anthony Martial (Getty Images)

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial was subjected to further racist abuse following Sunday's 1-1 draw at West Brom.

The Frenchman, who along with Axel Tuanzebe was targeted last month following the Red Devils’ loss to Sheffield United, was again on the receiving end after playing the first 66 minutes of the disappointing stalemate at The Hawthorns.

A number of Instagram users left racist words and symbols in the comments section of Martial’s most recent – 16-week-old – post.

Instagram earlier this week announced new measures to tackle online abuse in the wake of the latest spate of sickening racist attacks on footballers.

The social media network told the PA news agency on Sunday evening that it is looking into the matter and has already removed a number of racist comments.

Manchester United have also been contacted and said their position remained unchanged from the statement issued at the end of January, when they said they were “disgusted” at the abuse by “anonymous mindless idiots” and urged social media platforms and regulatory authorities “to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour”.

Troy Townsend, head of development at anti-racism charity Kick It Out, feels the latest incident “makes a mockery” of Instagram’s new “tougher” stance.

“Let me break my Sunday silence and just say here we go again,” he posted on Twitter alongside a screengrab showing some of the racist comments. “It’s so predictable now, it makes a mockery of Instagram’s comments this week.

“I wonder if this account will be barred for a month and collect their ‘Insta slap on the wrist’ and ‘don’t do that again’ talk.”

United’s Marcus Rashford and Lauren James, West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea full-back Reece James – brother of Lauren – have also been targeted in the last few weeks.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addressed the issue at a press conference on February 1.

Asked if he thinks it is possible to stop, the Norwegian said: “We all know there’s freedom of speech, but this crosses a line of what’s unacceptable.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable behaviour in 2021 with the education. So, we have to work with the platforms, and they’ve got to be stronger to make sure that we stop this.”

- TEAMtalk media

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