Thierry Henry Leaves Social Media Due to Lack of Action on Racism, Bullying

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2021

Montreal Impact coach Thierry Henry reacts during the first half of the team's MLS soccer match against Nashville SC, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

French soccer legend Thierry Henry announced Friday that he was removing himself from social media because of a lack of action taken by platforms against racism and bullying online.

Henry released a statement on the matter in the following tweet:

Thierry Henry @ThierryHenry

Hi Guys From tomorrow morning I will be removing myself from social media until the people in power are able to regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright.... https://t.co/gXSObqo4xg

In part, Henry wrote: "The sheer volume of racism, bullying and resulting mental torture to individuals is too toxic to ignore. There HAS to be some accountability."

The 43-year-old was a superstar striker for club and country with Arsenal and France, respectively.

Most recently, he served as the head coach of the Montreal franchise in Major League Soccer from 2019 until stepping down last month, citing family reasons.

Per ESPN, soccer stars Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Lauren James, Romaine Sawyers, Reece James and Alex Jankewitz have all dealt with racist abuse on social media recently.

ESPN also reported that the English Football Association recently called on social media platforms to utilize identification accounts in an effort to curtail bullying and racism.

During a training session in 2004, then-Spanish national team coach Luis Aragones used racist language in reference to Henry. He went on to become one of the most successful soccer players of all time.

He scored 366 goals across all club competitions, including 228 with Arsenal, and he scored 51 goals in 123 career appearances for France.

Perhaps someone of his stature speaking up and shutting down a Twitter account with 2.3 million followers could help kick-start conversation and get social media platforms to do more against racism and bullying.