After Wednesday night’s loss to Sheffield United, Manchester United were compelled to condemn the racial abuse some of their players received on social media.
The 2-1 home defeat to the Blades meant that the Red Devils were unable to reclaim their position at the top of the table from rivals Manchester City.
After the game, some United fans directed their anger in the form of racist insults towards Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe.
The club came out and strongly criticised this behaviour in a statement, together with the hashtag #UnitedAgainstRacism.
“Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse received by players via social media after last night’s game,” read the statement.
“We utterly condemn it and it is encouraging to see other fans condemn this on social media also. Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our All Red All Equal initiative.
“Identifying these anonymous mindless idiots remains problematic. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour.”
The statement is strongly worded but also frustrated by the ease with which such racists can hide behind their keyboards and pseudonyms.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire joined the criticism, tweeting a photo of himself taking the knee alongside Bruno Fernandes in an anti-racist statement.
“UNITED against racism. We will not tolerate it,” said Maguire.