A week after being subjected to insensitive racist abuse on social media after missing a penalty in Manchester United’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, French-Guinean midfielder Paul Pogba has hit back at the racist trolls in a rather defiant and classy way.
The World Cup winner’s response comes in the wake of fellow teammate and England international Marcus Rashford being subjected to similar online racist abuse after he also missed a penalty in their 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace in their English Premier League match on Saturday.
Taking to Twitter and sharing an intriguing photo of him standing beside a portrait of his deceased father as well as iconic civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. while holding his baby, Pogba was adamant he is not moved by racist trolls but rather feeds off their hate in his caption.
“My ancestors and my parents suffered for my generation to be free today, to work, to take the bus, to play football,” the France international shared. “Racist insults are ignorance and can only make me stronger and motivate me to fight for the next generation.”
In a post-match interview after the Crystal Palace game, Manchester United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said the trolls “hide behind fake identities” called on authorities to take action on the current situation, according to BBC.
“I’m just lost for words if it keeps going. We keep having all these campaigns ‘No to Racism’ and it keeps hiding behind fake identities. It’s just crazy that we talk about this in 2019,” he said.
The cases of colored footballers being subjected to racist abuse online has been on the ascendancy in recent times with anti-discrimination group Kick It Out condemning it.
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“The vile racist abuse on social media continued today. This problem will not go away and needs decisive action – that’s what we’ll be making clear to Twitter when we meet. Without immediate and the strongest possible action, these cowardly acts will continue to grow,” Kick It Out said in a statement on Saturday after the Rashford incident, BBC reports.
Twitter also confirmed via a statement they are set to meet with Kick It Out to discuss the problem.
“Over the next few weeks, Twitter representatives will meet with Manchester United, Kick It Out and any other civil society stakeholders interested in hearing about the proactive work Twitter is doing to address online racist abuse towards certain footballers in the UK,” the statement read.
“We have always maintained an open and healthy dialogue with our partners in this space, but we know we need to do more to protect our users. Racist behaviour has no place on our platform and we strongly condemn it.
“To this end, we look forward to working more closely with our partners to develop shared solutions to this issue. In the meantime, for Twitter’s part, we will continue to proactively monitor the conversation, and take aggressive enforcement action when content violates our rules.”