The interesting confession of Romelu Lukaku 1:02
In an exclusive interview with CNN Sport, Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku urged CEOs of social media companies to sit down with top Premier League stars to try to end the abuse that footballers receive. In Internet.
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have implemented several new measures in recent months, such as the ability to limit who can reply to posts.
But star players in both men's and women's soccer continue to be subjected to racist, sexist and homophobic abuse, as well as death threats.
This matter is personal for Lukaku, who has been the target of racist fans in the past, and the Belgian international explains why he wants to get more directly involved.
"I have to fight," he told CNN's Amanda Davies.
"Because I'm not fighting just for myself. I'm fighting for my son, for my future children, for my brother, for all the other players and their children. You know, for everyone."
Lukaku believes that the time has come for all parties involved - footballers, social media companies and governing bodies - to come together and take responsibility for ending the abuses.
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"The captains of each team, and four or five players, as the great personalities of each team, should have a meeting with the CEOs of Instagram and the governments and the FA and the PFA, and we should sit around the table and have a great meeting on the subject, "says Lukaku.
"How can we attack him directly, not only from men's football, but also from women's."
"I think all of us together, just have a great meeting and have a conference and talk about the things that need to be addressed to protect the players, as well as to protect the fans and the younger players who want to become professional footballers."
Football is joy
Lukaku spoke to CNN Sport about the launch of Chelse's 'No To Hate' photo contest, which encourages club fans around the world to submit their photos that showcase the diversity within the Chelsea community and how football can be a unifying factor against hatred and discrimination in any of its forms.
The "No To Hate" campaign was originally launched in March by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after the "disgusting and unacceptable racist abuse" received by team defender Reece James in January.
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Lukaku has frequently faced racist insults on the pitch throughout his career, particularly during his time at Inter Milan in Italy, and recently told CNN that he believes racism in football is at stake. an "all-time high".
However, he claims that the constant fight against racism is not something he is going to tire of.
"After all, soccer should be a fun game," he said.
"You cannot kill the game with discrimination. That should never happen. Football is joy, it is happiness and it should not be a place where you feel insecure because of the opinion of some uneducated."
A spokesman for the Football Association (FA) told CNN that it contacted Chelsea directly to set up a conversation with Lukaku.
"We always welcome discussions on this very important topic with players and others throughout the game," the spokesman said.
Similarly, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) contacted the footballer through Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta to try to organize a meeting and find out how they can better collaborate.
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Lukaku points to the collective spirit in the world of football that managed to "stop the Super League in one day" and wonders why that same fervor cannot be applied to the eradication of abuses on social media platforms.
"If you want to stop something, you can really do it," he says.
"We, as players, can say: 'Yes, we can boycott social media', but I think it's those companies that have to come and talk to the teams, or to the governments, or to the players themselves and find a way. how to stop it because I really think they can do it. "
In January, soccer's top authorities and governing bodies, such as Kick It Out, the PFA, the Premier League and the FA, met with social media companies to discuss how to tackle hate online.
Responses from Facebook and Twitter
Between January and March of this year, Facebook removed more than 33 million hate messages from its platforms, including Instagram, and more than 93% of them were removed before being reported.
"No one should experience racist abuse anywhere, and we do not tolerate it on Facebook and Instagram," a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
"We remove racist content as soon as we see it and respond to valid legal requests to assist with police investigations."
"We have also built the Hidden Words tool to prevent people from seeing this abuse in their comments and DMs and we encourage everyone to use it. People can also limit comments and direct message requests during peak season. attention".
"Nothing will fix this challenge overnight, but we are committed to continuing our work with the Premier League and others to help keep our community safe from abuse."
In its response to CNN, a Twitter spokesperson pointed to a blog post posted on its website on August 10.
"We condemn racism in all its forms: Our goal is to become the most diverse, inclusive and accessible technology company in the world, and to lead the industry in preventing such abhorrent views from being seen on our platform," the statement said.
"We are horrified by those who attacked the players of the England national football team with racist insults after the final of Euro 2020," he said.
"Although our automated tools are now capable of detecting most of the abusive tweets that we delete, we also continue to take action from the reports," the statement added.
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Throw a message
In recent years, incidents of racism among Chelsea fans have sometimes led to the belief that such behavior is widespread throughout their fans.
Lukaku claims that campaigns like "No Hate" are an important way to show the world that the Chelsea community at large is against all forms of discrimination.
"I think right now, from the owner to us, the players, we as a club ... we are really making a statement and taking a position that things like this should not be tolerated," says Lukaku.
"Because, in our team, we have many players representing the club of different nationalities, different skin colors, different religions, also the women's team where the same thing happens."
"So I think that we, as a club, should be an example for the other teams and basically say that, whenever there is a form of discrimination, the club takes a firm position and will process everything that happens in the stands." .
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Lukaku rejoined Chelsea in the Premier League this summer, at a time when some teams and players continue to kneel before matches in a united stance against discrimination.
However, the Belgian forward believes that more can be done and questions the effectiveness of the gesture.
"I think we can take stronger positions, basically," he said.
"Yes, we kneel, but in the end everyone applauds, but ... sometimes after the game, you see another insult."
His Chelsea teammate Marcos Alonso recently shared his opinion that the act of kneeling is "losing a bit of steam."
Instead, he said, he decides to stand up and point to the anti-racist message on his sleeve.
Likewise, female Chelsea player Jess Carter told CNN that she has begun to question why players keep kneeling and whether it is becoming an empty gesture.
"It shows, of course, that unity, that we are all still committed and supporting something," he explains.
"But sometimes, I feel like, 'Are people just doing this to do it now? Are they doing it just for their manager [who] told them they should probably get on their knees so they don't get abused on social media?"
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"Part of me keeps thinking, 'What are we doing it for? I'm glad we're trying to stick together and show that there is diversity in this game and that it should be here. We have five seconds before a game to try and deliver a powerful message. .. and what else could we do? ”, He insisted
"I'm glad we do it, but do we keep doing it to do it or do we keep doing it because it's important? That is, for me, the difference, and when we stop kneeling, what will be next? Because racism, homophobia , All of that is not going to go away. So what are we going to continue doing after we stop kneeling? "concluded Carter.
RacismSocial mediaRomelu Lukaku