Jordan Henderson has announced his partnership with Cybersmile, handing the anti-cyberbullying organisation his social media accounts in a stand against racist abuse.
The Liverpool captain was absent for Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Real Madrid, but he was very aware of the abuse aimed at his team-mates in the immediate aftermath.
Liverpool’s message was shared by the first-team squad, with Andy Robertson writing on his Instagram story: “Same shit, different day.”
It is a situation that is becoming worryingly familiar for footballers, who in the absence of supporters at games are being increasingly scrutinised and abused by so-called fans on social media.
With a lack of accountability held by the platforms themselves – such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – action is being taken by players and clubs, in a bid to prompt change.
Swansea City have announced that they would be partaking in a week-long blackout of their social media channels from 5pm on Thursday, while Thierry Henry has disabled his accounts entirely.
Online abuse has got to stop. Recently I’ve been thinking about what I can do, as an individual, to try and make a difference. I’ve seen friends, team-mates, other players within football and in wider society be on the receiving end of horrendous online abuse which… 1/4 pic.twitter.com/TLnrYXAzWF
Henderson posted a series of messages to his Twitter page on Thursday afternoon, confirming that he was joining the movement by partering with Cybersmile.
“Over the past few years, I’ve seen some of my friends, team-mates, other players, people within football, out of football, the wider society, suffer some horrendous abuse online,” he explained in an accompanying video.
“And still, I don’t really see much changing.
“Again [Tuesday] night, some of my team-mates were racially abused online after a football match, and to me that’s just unacceptable.
“I have been thinking about deleting all social media, but I’m not quite sure who that helps or what it does.
“So I came across Cybersmile, who are a foundation that educate, support and advise people who suffer from social media abuse or online bullying.
“And I’ll be partnering with them over the next few weeks, for them to have full control of all of my social media channels to basically promote what they do, how to help people.
“So we’ll be posting stuff, captions, support links on there, for people to go and use, who are suffering.
“Hopefully it can help a lot of people over the next few weeks – and please, however little you may think the issue is, reach out.
“We can definitely help you, as I know how sometimes it can be a very dark place on social media, no matter how many followers you’ve got.
“Please use it, and I hope it helps a lot of people.”