(Reuters) – Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba said the racist abuse he has suffered will only make him stronger and the Frenchman vowed to fight the problem for the sake of the next generation.
Pogba was the target of online abuse after missing a penalty in their 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers last week, prompting Manchester to issue a strong statement condemning the views.
“Racist insults are ignorance and can only make me stronger and motivate me to fight for the next generation,” Pogba wrote in a tweet accompanied by a picture of him holding his baby alongside a portrait of Martin Luther King.
“My ancestors and my parents suffered for my generation to be free today, to work, to take the bus, to play football.”
British media reported Pogba’s team mate Marcus Rashford had also been targeted after missing a penalty in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat by Crystal Palace.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said before the match that players needed more protection from social media companies, was “lost for words” after the latest incident.
“It’s unheard of and we need it to stop,” Solskjaer said. “I’m just lost for words if it keeps going.
“We keep having all these campaigns ‘No to Racism’ and it keeps hiding behind fake identities. It’s crazy that we talk about this in 2019.”
United and British anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out are set to meet representatives of Twitter and British media said the Old Trafford club would also approach Facebook.
Earlier this month, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told social media companies to take action after 21-year-old striker Tammy Abraham was subject to abuse after the team’s UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool.
Kick It Out said last month it had received 159 reports of discrimination via social media in the English professional game last season.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)