The Professional Footballers Association of Ireland and Show Racism the Red Card have released a joint statement on the racial abuse suffered by Irish international Cyrus Christie.
Christie’s teammate James McClean opened up on some of the racially aggressive comments directed towards his teammate in the wake of Ireland’s World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark last week, leaving the Middlesbrough defender in tears.
The PFAI and the Irish wing of prominent anti-racism campaign group Show Racism the Red Card released a statement together on Monday evening, condemning the online abuse and praising McClean for speaking out against it:
Director Garrett Mullan welcomed the news that the Gardaí are investigating the incident:
“There is no place for racism in sport or on social media. We welcome the fact that the FAI and Gardai are taking action but social media outlets also have a role to play in responding to racism.
“As important as reporting such vile incidents is the support that someone receives from those around and in this case, it is clear that Cyrus Christie’s team mates have been affected by this incident. We welcome the fact that James McClean has shone a light on to some of the nasty elements out there. His support for his fellow team mate will help the team and Cyrus in particular, to emerge stronger from this incident.”
Stephen McGuinness, general secretary of the PFAI, echoed Mullan’s words and reiterated that no player, in sport otherwise, should be subjected to such hateful language:
“We fully support all efforts to stamp out racism from the game and that includes comments targeting players on social media. The nature of this incident is really shocking and no player should be subjected to that and we hope that the perpetrator is called to account.
“This incident should serve as a message to all involved in the game from grassroots upwards that racism needs a response from authorities and team mates. It cannot be ignored.”
The FAI posted a message of solidarity towards Christie on Monday afternoon from their Instagram account:
They are, however, yet to make an official statement regarding the abusive comments themselves.