Joe Willock and Bruno Guimaraes were on the receiving end of racial abuse on social media after helping Newcastle United controversially beat Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday.
Eddie Howe’s side were responsible for ending the Gunners’ unbeaten start to the new Premier League campaign, and some of their players were targeted.
After being subjected to racial abuse on Instagram, Willock has taken concrete steps to find and apprehend those responsible.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who came through the Arsenal youth academy before joining Newcastle in 2021, played a crucial role in Anthony Gordon’s controversial winner.
He barely kept the ball in play in the build-up, even though VAR spent a great deal of time to uphold the linesman’s initial call.
After receiving abusive content on Instagram, he urged the platform to find culprits, with Kick It Out joining the case to help the Newcastle star and send a message of support to the victims.
“We send our support to Newcastle’s Joe Willock and Bruno Guimarães after they became the latest players to be targeted with disgusting racial abuse on social media,” Kick It Out said, as quoted by the Guardian.
“Sadly, this has been an almost weekly occurrence this season, and the costs on players’ mental health are huge. That is why the new Online Safety Act must click into gear as soon as possible so that players are better protected.
“Social media companies cannot continue to allow this to happen without consequence, but they can offer better safeguards right now.”
Newcastle have jumped to their players’ aid, releasing a statement in which they strongly condemned racial abuse and vowed to help catch those responsible.
“Newcastle United strongly condemns racist abuse sent to Bruno Guimarães and Joe Willock via social media following Saturday’s victory over Arsenal,” a club statement said. “Our message is clear. There is no room for racism in football or society.
“We are providing support to Bruno and Joe and will work with relevant authorities and social media platforms to identify those responsible so that they can be held to account.”
Authorities need to send a strong message to racists
Racial abuse has become a genuine problem in world football over the years, not just in the Premier League but in almost every other top league in Europe.
Thus far, discovering and punishing perpetrators haven’t failed to produce the desired results, considering the situation is not improving, as witnessed by this latest turn of events.
Perhaps making an example of those responsible for harassing Willock and Guimaraes could be a perfect way to send a message to others who dare to follow the same path.
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