Brentford's Ivan Toney has become the latest professional player to receive racist abuse on social media; a Facebook and Instagram spokesperson said: "There is no place for racism in football or on our apps. We have deleted the comment and removed the user from the platform"
Tuesday 19 January 2021 10:39, UK
Facebook has deleted the account of an Instagram user who racially abused Brentford striker Ivan Toney on the social media platform.
Toney posted on his Instagram story a screengrab of a user who had replied to a post on his page using the N-word.
Following the abuse, a Facebook and Instagram spokesperson said: "There is no place for racism in football or on our apps. We have deleted the comment and removed the user from the platform."
Sanjay Bhandari, chair of anti-racism charity Kick It Out, said: "The comment Ivan Toney received on his Instagram page was unacceptable and we are glad the individual responsible was swiftly removed from the platform.
"We are working closely with the football authorities, law enforcement and social media organisations to find solutions to tackle online abuse and bring about real change, in order to give players greater protection moving forward.
"Situations like this show us once again that online hate must have real-life consequences. People feel they are free to say want they want online, because they think there will be no consequences - but that must change.
"We hope that information about the perpetrator will be shared with law enforcement too, to enable further appropriate action."
In 2019, while Toney was playing for former club Peterborough, he was subjected to similar abuse when he was sent banana and monkey emojis by a user on the same social media platform.
A number of professional players have also been targeted on social media recently, with Junior Stanislas, Bright Osayi-Samuel, and Ryan Sessegnon among those subjected to online abuse.
Kick It Out reported a 42 per cent increase in discrimination last season.
England's first football hate crime officer Stuart Ward recently told Sky Sports News an extended spell of matches behind closed doors, coupled with a lack of accountability and education, is driving more people to abuse players online in such a way that will damage their mental wellbeing.
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Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.