“I had no escape from being racially abused, whether that was on the streets or social media. The ripple effect the abuse had on me and my family, I wouldn’t want anyone else to experience that.”
Anton Ferdinand believes that online abusers should face consequences for their actions.
Ferdinand addressed a football working group made up of UK football authorities, law enforcement and social media companies.
The group will tackle online hate, but the former QPR defender believes the double standards must be addressed.
“As footballers, we are held accountable for our actions all the time,” he said.
“Why aren’t the people that are sending abuse, and the social media platforms, held to account too?”
The centre-back was involved in a high-profile racial discriminatory case with the FA and John Terry.
Since that incident with the former England captain, Ferdinand has been on the end of vile racial abuse both in-person and online.
He wants to raise awareness of this and doesn’t want the same happening to other people.
“I had no escape from being racially abused, whether that was on the streets or social media,” he continued.
“The ripple effect the abuse had on me and my family, I wouldn’t want anyone else to experience that.”
Kick it Out.
Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out is one of the bodies involved in the new working group.
Executive chair Sanjay Bhandari admits that people feel free to say what they want on social media, knowing there won’t be any consequences.
“Online hate thrives because there is a culture of impunity,” he stated.
“People feel free to say what they want because they are confident there will be no consequences.
“That must change. Online hate must have real-world consequences.”
In my brand new documentary, I explore the issue of racism in football, speaking for the first time about my own personal experience.#AntonFerdinand: Football, Racism and Me on @BBC One & @BBCiPlayer – Nov 30th – 9pm pic.twitter.com/XECjg3nbhR
— Anton Ferdinand (@anton_ferdinand) November 21, 2020
The group also contains representatives from the Premier League and chief executive Richard Masters believes progress is being made.
“We have made progress in this area through our own central reporting system, which we launched to support players, managers and their families who have been victims of discriminatory online abuse,” he explained.
“We investigate each reported case and take legal action where appropriate.
“Sadly, there are too many instances of footballers and their families receiving horrific discriminatory messages and nobody should have to deal with this.”