Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson reveals he has considered deleting his social media accounts in response to ‘horrendous’ online abuse as he hands over his platforms to anti-bullying foundation Cybersmile to tackle issue
- Jordan Henderson has revealed his plan to tackle racial abuse on social media
- The Liverpool skipper will hand control of his channels to an anti-bullying group
- Cybersmile will provide support links for those targeted by online trolls
- Henderson said he nearly deleted his accounts in response to vile messages
Jordan Henderson admits seeing his Liverpool team-mates abused on social media has made him consider deleting his accounts as he revealed a new scheme to combat vile behaviour online.
The Reds captain hit out at the ‘unacceptable’ abuse of players after they were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid, with Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Trent Alexander-Arnold all targeted by trolls.
Alexander-Arnold and Keita were both sent monkey and banana emojis on Instagram while Mane was called ‘gorilla’ and told: ‘Leave my club monkey’.
Jordan Henderson will hand over control of his social media accounts to online bullying firm Cybersmile in a bid to curb abuse
The England international said he was keen to make a stand after failing to see any signs of change to crack down on vile messages being sent from anonymous accounts, and is now planning to let anti-bullying charity Cybersmile take over his channels to educate people and provide support.
‘Over the past few years I’ve seen some of my friends, team-mates, other players, people within football, out of football out of society suffer some horrendous abuse online and I don’t really see much changing,’ he said in a powerful video on his Twitter account.
‘Last night some of my team-mates were abused online after a football match and to me that is unacceptable.
Naby Keita (right) was among the Liverpool stars targeted for abuse after losing 3-1 to Madrid
Henderson admits he nearly deleted his social accounts but wants to make a bigger statement
He slammed the ‘horrendous’ comments aimed at his team-mates and urged those suffering to take advantage of Cybersmile’s support
One user labelled Mane a ‘gorilla’ and a ‘monkey’ on Instagram
‘I have thought 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.
‘I’ll be partnering with them over the next few weeks for them to have full control over all my social media channels to promote what they do and how to help people.
‘They’ll be posting stuff, captions, support links, for people to go and use who are suffering, so hopefully it can help a lot of people over the next few weeks.’
Henderson urged anyone who was suffering from online abuse to use the links that were provided by the organisation, admitting that social media can be ‘a dark place’ even for celebrities.
‘Please, however little you 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.
The 30-year-old’s pledge is the latest in a series of measures taken by other players and clubs to tackle hateful comments aimed at footballers in recent months.
Thierry Henry announced he was withdrawing from all forms of social media until tech firms tackle the issue, saying it was currently too easy to hide behind unverified accounts.
Callum Robinson was subjected to racial abuse online after West Brom’s win over Chelsea
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry called on platforms to do more to combat ‘bullying and racism’
”If you know you’re going to get found out, you know you’ll think twice about saying something,’ he told Good Morning Britain. ‘A lot of people will hide behind fake accounts. All I want is accountability.
‘We need to find out who those people are… It is a great tool, but I know a little portion of the world is using it as a weapon. I will be back on it when it’s safer.’
And Swansea also revealed they would boycott social media for seven days after racist abuse was sent to players Yan Dhanda, Ben Cabango and Jamal Lowe – saying ‘enough is enough’.
Players, managers and activists have pleaded with social media firms to toughen up their policies, with Arsenal winger Willian and West Brom boss Sam Allardyce the latest to urge them to identify culprits.