Daily Express - 23.08.2019

(Kiana) #1

66 Daily Express Friday, August 23, 2019


Keyboard warriors would not

abuse Pogba face to

face, so let’s stop

them doing it online


Our Chief Sports Reporter tackles the big issues head on

McIlroy’s solution
to golf’s slow-play
crisis – smaller fields – is
undergoing a test run at the
PGA Tour Championship at the
moment. The trouble is that
one of the players in the
30-man field is Bryson

there to help inform and
differentiate. World Rugby,
in their desire to appear
even-handed, have created
an entirely unnecessary recipe
for confusion.
If a change had to happen
they should have followed
cricket’s example and made
the showpiece events the
Men’s Rugby World Cup and the
Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The cup doesn’t fit
RUGBY UNION will no longer
have a World Cup and a
Women’s World Cup – it will
instead just have World Cups.
Japan 2019, which is for men,
will be followed by New Zealand
2021, for women, and then
France 2023, for men.
This misguided attempt
at gender neutrality from
the sport’s governing body
is a nonsense. Words are

Pogba was
attacked by
the social
media racists
Picture: MARTIN


he depressing instances of a
black player missing a penalty
and then being racially abused
by deadbeats on social media
have supplied a tawdry backdrop to
the start of the football season.
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba,
Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and
Reading’s Yakou Meite have all been
on the receiving end of the keyboard
Twitter have promised to monitor
the traffic heading the way of 50 of
the most prominent black footballers
in the country proactively but
man-marking will go only part of the
way to dealing with the problem.
By the time the filth is spotted and
taken down it has already been out
there. Someone, somewhere – maybe
even the player or a member of their
family – has been contaminated by it.
Job done for the scumbag alone in
his bedroom.
Racism used to be out there as a
visible and audible part of a dark and
dismal terrace culture. Thankfully the
bananas and monkey chants were
driven away. They became socially
That line still holds in the main.
When Raheem Sterling was abused at
Stamford Bridge last season it came as
a shock and Chelsea acted strongly in
banning six supporters.
The problem, though, has resurfaced
on a different platform and with grim

regularity. Twitter has blamed societal
reasons for racism’s return to football.
It is a valid point. Whichever side of
the Brexit argument you take, it is an
uncomfortable truth that this country
has become a less tolerant place since
the referendum campaign.
But it is social media which has
evolved into the vehicle of choice to
deliver hate direct to the target and for
that the companies involved must
shoulder more responsibility.
To say they are merely the conduit
for others’ failings is not good enough.
Twitter have passed on this season’s
cases to the police. If the individuals
are caught and convicted, it would be
instructive to arrange some sort of
restorative justice.
Imagine just how small the
perpetrator would be made to feel
in the presence of a multi-talented,
multi-lingual athlete such as Pogba.
Just how pathetic and empty would
he – and it is always a he – feel when
confronted by such a confident,

powerful figure. Conspicuous success
from a man earning millions doing a
job he loves on one side, abject failure
on the other.
But it should not be the
responsibility of Pogba, or any other
player, to deal with this sort of
garbage. The social media companies
can, and should, do more. Phil
Neville’s call for a six-month boycott
by footballers would be one response,
but that is unlikely because of the
commercial pressures to promote their
sponsors on their social media outlets.
In any case, such a stance would
punish the vast majority of decent fans
who, for some reason, enjoy the banal
faux-interaction with their heroes.
What needs to be done is to stop the
racist trolls at source. The answer to
that is to strip away their cloak of
anonymity. A requirement for every
user to register for an account with
their real name and national insurance
number would bring everyone out into
the light.
The racists may still think the same
way, they may still type their bile but
the knowledge that they would be
guaranteed consequences for their
actions would give them pause for
thought before pressing send.
If they went ahead and spread their
poison, they would be permanently
banned and lose their voice forever.
It is not just the football world which
would be better for that.

ON THE SPOT: Pogba’s kick is saved

the summer, but to suggest Hudson-Odoi is
ready to step straight in after a serious
Achilles injury and single-handedly turn a
bottom-six position into a top-six one is
Of more significance as Chelsea seek their
first competitive win under new manager
Frank Lampard is the availability of Antonio
Rudiger. A little defensive steel is worth a lot
of attacking flair in the situation the Blues
HUDSON-ODOI: Return from injury find themselves in.

CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI’S imminent return
to fitness is being flagged in some quarters
as the belated launch point for Chelsea’s
An England international already, the
forward is a very exciting prospect but
the fact remains that he is just 18 years old.
Don’t heap too much weight on those young
Chelsea need someone to fill the void left
by Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid in

Callum cannot do it alone

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