Once England had crashed to defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last Sunday, it was inevitable that social media would be awash with racist abuse, and one former Arsenal legend is disgusted by what he sees as a return to the bad old days.
Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all missed their spot-kicks in the shoot-out, and within minutes of the final whistle, monkey emojis and horrific racist language was being used across the various platforms.
“This is and will always be an ongoing problem until it is dealt with in the wider society,” former Gunners star, Michael Thomas, told CaughtOffside.
“Football is but a small part of what goes on day to day. So to think it can be eradicated just from football is a crazy belief. This is probably the worst I’ve seen for some years but I am not sure if that’s just down to how easy it is to publicise on social media.
“During my time it was very much the same and the scenes after the game brought back a lot of memories. Society needs to deal with the issue.
“People are not educated and that’s sad to say in the year 2021. That or they do understand and choose to be a problem regardless. I constantly see the country pointing out other countries and how bad it is there but that is a wider issue and there is still no excuse why we can’t do anything about our immediate population.
“When the people at the top of society don’t care then the rest will take that as an excuse to do as they please. Sanctions need to be made.
“We have sanctions for everything else that causes a problem but not here with racism. For example knife crime is a real issue in our society and there are measures in place to deal with this e.g. judicial system.
“The judicial system does not deal with racism in the same light which means it becomes appropriated for those little minded people. The energy the world had for the ‘Super League’ is the same energy we need to take a step towards minimising the racial discrimination.
“The players that missed gave their all for their country and deserved praise and support but instead got something that they expected which is really sad.”
As someone who went through a similar experience, albeit not in the digital age, Thomas can certainly well identify with what the players are going through.
It’s clear where he places the blame for the rise of racial tensions too.
“As said above, our leadership team in the country are the people that can help bring about change but they are also the same people that can put gas on to the flames,” he continued.
“Their comments were not helpful in appropriation to the subject at hand.”
One can only hope that the outpouring of love and support to all three players overwhelms the messages from those idiots that want to make a name for themselves.