Man City's Raheem Sterling Racially Abused on IG After Social Media Boycott

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 6, 2021

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on May 1, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling was the target of racist abuse on Instagram just two days after English football clubs and players held a boycott of social media.

The Athletic provided a statement from Facebook, which owns Instagram and removed the racist comment Tuesday:

"The racist abuse sent to Raheem Sterling is unacceptable and we do not want it on Instagram. We have removed the comment and taken action against the account that posted it. As part of our ongoing work in this space, we'll soon be rolling out new tools to help prevent people seeing abusive messages from strangers.

"No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we're committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe from abuse."

Sterling is already the third player who's received racist messages on social media since the start of the boycott, joining Stoke City's on-loan winger Rabbi Matondo and Swansea City's Morgan Whittaker, per The Athletic.

Abuse of the Manchester City star has led to several bans in recent years.

In July 2019, Chelsea banned six fans, including one for life, following an investigation into racist abuse directed toward the England international in a December 2018 match at Stamford Bridge.

In January 2020, the Manchester Magistrates' Court banned two City supporters for five years for racist abuse of Sterling during a December 2018 fixture against Bournemouth.

Sterling spoke out against racism in an interview with the BBC's Emily Maitlis (via Jack de Menezes of The Independent) in June.

"I know this might sound a little bit cheesy, but the only disease right now is the racism that we are fighting," he said. "This is the most important thing at this moment in time because this is something that is happening for years and years. Just like the pandemic, we want to find a solution to stop it."

The Premier League announced a six-point plan Friday at the start of the social media boycott, which included getting tech companies to ensure "real-life consequences for online discriminatory abuse."

EPL Chief Executive Richard Masters also made a statement about the boycott:

"The Premier League and our clubs stand alongside football in staging this boycott to highlight the urgent need for social media companies to do more in eliminating racial hatred. We will not stop challenging social media companies and want to see significant improvements in their policies and processes to tackle online discriminatory abuse on their platforms.

"Football is a diverse sport, which brings together communities and cultures from all backgrounds and this diversity makes the competition stronger. No Room For Racism represents all the work we do to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and tackling discrimination."

Manchester City clinched a berth in the UEFA Champions League final with a victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the semifinals Tuesday.

Sterling and the Citizens return to action Saturday to face Chelsea in Premier League action. The clubs will meet again May 29 in the UCL final.