Online hate: Will Greenwood calls on social media companies to stop anonymous accounts
England Rugby condemned the online abuse experienced by its players and BBC's Six Nations reporter Sonja McLaughlan following their defeat to Wales in Cardiff on Saturday. Greenwood says 'there is a place and position for everyone on a rugby pitch'
Last Updated: 02/03/21 3:03pm
Will Greenwood believes the issue of online abuse will only be tackled when social media companies address the prevalence of anonymous accounts.
England Rugby condemned social media abuse aimed at its players after prop Ellis Genge said he had received death threats after a video emerged online of him not clapping Wales off the pitch after their Six Nations victory on Saturday.
Genge, who came off the bench during England's 40-24 defeat, wrote: "Don't know why I'm not clapping in that tunnel, must be deep in thought - utmost respect for the Welsh, as for keyboard warriors sending death threats etc..."
Earlier on Sunday, the RFU had released a statement offering their support to BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan after she was subjected to abuse following her pitchside interviews in Cardiff.
Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling. Just some of the feedback I’ve had.— Sonja McLaughlan (@Sonjamclaughlan) February 27, 2021
Thanks for using @ sign so it’s all hit home.
Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job.
In my car crying. Hope you’re happy
"It needs to be investigated," Greenwood told Sky Sports News.
"There needs to be accountability. I am no social media guru but as long as you allow anonymity then this will continue to take place.
"There has to be some sort of sign and some sort of ability to understand who and what are saying these things."
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England Rugby urged "true rugby fans" to resist and reject such incidences of abuse, while the Welsh Rugby Union added they were "hugely disappointed and saddened by the social media abuse directed at opposition players and members of the media".
Greenwood added: "You have to stand alongside each other, support each other and make sure every avenue is being explored.
"That is coming from someone who believes that on a sports field, especially in rugby, there is no greater metaphor for life.
"There is a place and position for everyone on a rugby pitch. Shape, size, colour, speed, whatever it is. I think we need to continue to make everyone feel safe and welcome."
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