Arsenal football club could join the club’s legend, Thierry Henry to boycott social media if all the strategy in place does not reduce or end the rising cases of abuses on the Internet.
Cases of racism and other forms of social media abuse have been directed at footballers especially since the coronavirus pandemic forced teams to start playing behind closed doors.
Due to the rising cases of online bullying, Thierry Henry had to remove himself from social media saying that the social media environment is no longer safe for anyone. Since he removed himself from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, he has been getting a lot of support from footballers and clubs, Arsenal in particular.
On his part, the chief executive of Arsenal football club, Vinai Venkatesham said the club has not ruled out the possibility of boycotting social media just like the club’s legend. He added that if appropriate steps are not taken, racist attacks on social media would normalize.
According to the Arsenal boss, the attack on footballers via social media is becoming as worst as ever, which prompted the club to launch the #StopOnlineAbuse campaign. The campaign seeks to change people’s negative attitudes on social media.
Arsenal congratulate Thierry Henry for leaving social media
While noting the effort Arsenal football club has been making to combat racism on social media, the chief executive of the club, Vinai Venkatesham congratulated Thierry Henry for sending a “powerful message” against racism by leaving social media.
“I understand the decision that Thierry made,” said Venkatesham. “I thought it was sad that Thierry felt like he had to do that. But I also thought that it was a really powerful message, and I congratulate him for that.
“I felt really sad that it has come to a point where a player of the profile of Thierry, and a human being, has decided that they don’t feel social media is a safe environment.”
On whether Arsenal could join Henry to boycott the social media, Venkatesham said: “I would say that nothing is off the table. We have taken the approach that we feel is appropriate and use the power of the following that we have on social media to send, what we think, is a really powerful message around our campaign.
“It’s not a press release, it’s a series of activities that we are going to be doing and we will continue to highlight those on our channels. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other approaches available and I think everyone has to choose their own approach if they’re trying to be pro-active.”
Arsenal chose not to take a boycott
Despite saying that nothing is off the table, Arsenal’s chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham stressed that the club has chosen not to take a boycott. He however noted that the club would have gone that route, adding that the club would focus on ways to fight against social media abuse.
“I don’t think anything needs to be off the table. We’ve chosen not to take a boycott – clearly, that was something we could have done”, he noted. “Of course, we will continue to think about what measures we could take in the future to continue to highlight this issue.”