PFA Players' Board member and Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney has urged footballers to report all instances of racism received.
Speaking at an education session on hate crime in football led by West Midlands Police, Deeney encouraged all players to report every specific case of racism to the police and football's authorities. He stated that in doing so, the government and social media companies could not overlook the figures.
The former Watford captain highlighted that the abuse he receives targets not only himself but also his family, "On social media, it is huge. Personally, I have to report 30 to 40 messages a day.
"Whether it's a picture of me, my wife, the kids - there are no limits to people's anger," he told Sky Sports News.
"I'm a marmite individual, some people love me, some people don't. You can talk about my footballing ability as much as you want - I just don't understand why you have to talk about the colour of my skin or try to make me feel less for being an individual of colour.
"There's an angry whole kid inside of me that wants to smash everything, then there's a side of me that gets sad and probably that's the age and the parent in me that's just like 'it's a sad state of affairs when people can go online and say whatever they want, however they want and there are no repercussions for it.
"If I was to react and say the same level of abuse back, I'd be on Sky, I'd be everywhere, there'd be punishments for me - but there isn't for these individuals.
A recent PFA-funded research project showed racist online abuse increased during the 2020/21 season.
The report found there was a 48% increase in unmoderated racist online abuse in the second half of the 2020/21 football season, with 50% of abusive accounts coming from the UK.
More than three-quarters of the 359 accounts sending explicitly racist abuse to players were still on the platform. As of July 2021, the vast majority of these accounts remain unsanctioned.
Additionally, only 56% of racially abusive posts identified throughout the season had been removed, with some posts have remained live for months, and in some cases, the full duration of the season.
"When you're a young player you're not aware of the amount of support you have," Deeney explained.
"In football, you're made to feel like your superhuman - 'I'm big, I'm strong' - so you never want to be labelled as a victim.
Deeney concluded, "You don't want to feel like you're a victim or you're complaining because that's classed as weak. So it's about breaking down barriers and understanding that going to speak to a player liaison officer or your agent doesn't mean that you're weak, it just means that you're probably stopping somebody else from feeling that pain you're currently feeling."
Contact the PFA:
If you receive any type of discriminatory abuse, please send us screenshots and other relevant information to email@example.com.
We know the impact that abuse can have on an individual, so we encourage any affected players to seek emotional support. The PFA has a dedicated online abuse helpline staffed by counsellors specifically trained in this area, and all services are entirely private and confidential.
- PFA Online Abuse Helpline: 0800 368 8484
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org