Steve Bruce says he has received death threats on social media, calling what Mike Dean and other players have had to endure this week "obscene".
Dean and his family received death threats on social media after two controversial incidents last week after the 52-year-old issued red cards to Southampton's Jan Bednarek and West Ham's Tomas Soucek. The abuse received has lead to Dean requesting to be taken off Premier League refereeing duty this weekend.
It is not just Dean who has had to endure such threats. Manchester United players Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Lauren James are among those who have been the targets of social media abuse, along with West Brom's Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea defender Reece James, Lauren James' brother.
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Bruce is the latest to reveal he has also been targeted.
"I just know that in conversations I've had with my family over the last few days, when we've been talking about the Mike Dean situation, it was brought to my attention that I've had it too," Bruce said.
"It's really horrible stuff, which I couldn't really get my breath with. Things like someone saying they hope I die of Covid and all of this.
"I don't go on it but of, course, people close to me do and they are sensitive towards their father and yes [there have been death threats]. Yep, I've had that to deal with too."
Bruce, 60, is not on social media but his son and former footballer, Alex, is and has shared abusive online messages he has received that are aimed at his father.
"Social media is a really powerful weapon for everyone concerned," Bruce added. "The abuse that I've had - death threats and all this sort of stuff.
"When I see a referee having to come away from it because he's made a mistake and people threatening him with his life - It's obscene and totally ridiculous. They need to clamp down and police it better. We need to stop it basically.
"There are vulnerable people out there and it's absolutely vile, some of it. It needs to stop."
Willock: Racist abuse I have received is disgusting
Joe Willock has told Sky Sports News that he also received death threats and "disgusting" racist abuse since 2019.
Willock joined Newcastle on loan from Arsenal on Deadline Day, before scoring on debut for his new side in their 3-2 win over Southampton at the weekend, and the now 21-year-old has added his voice to the growing clamour for action to be taken by social media companies.
"I have always said people don't understand that we are human, we are flesh and blood and feel emotion," Willock said. "When people are sending you death threats, racist comments, things about your family or the way you look, it has a psychological effect. It's horrendous the things I see online and the messages I get.
"I was getting racist comments, things that were disgusting. Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram need to do something about this. There has to be a duty of care for people in the limelight and also for other people on there. People are going to keep getting depressed and keep committing suicide - and they need to stop it.
"It was 2019 and I was getting these threats. There was so much pressure on me playing for Arsenal at such a young age - but that is my job and my job is in the limelight. You are getting these messages and it is crazy what it can do to a young boy.
"It didn't affect me too much because I have a great family that helps me deal with these sort of things. But other people, who are getting the same, it can be detrimental to their careers. It is impossible to ignore - they @ you, they tag you, they message directly. It is always in your face."
English football bodies have come together to send an open letter to Facebook and Twitter demanding action amid increased levels of abuse aimed at footballers and officials on social media.
The Premier League, FA, EFL, WSL, Women's Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick It Out have all co-signed the letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerburg, asking them "for reasons of basic human decency" to use the power of their systems to end the abuse.
Facebook-owned Instagram announced new measures, including the removal of accounts to prevent abusive messages on its platform and developing new controls to help reduce the abuse people see.
The letter from football's governing bodies said: "The language used is debasing, often threatening and illegal. It causes distress to the recipients and the vast majority of people who abhor racism, sexism and discrimination of any kind.
"We have had many meetings with your executives over the years but the reality is your platforms remain havens for abuse."
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