Willian became the latest player from the Arsenal camp to receive slurs online. The Brazilian winger has struggled to find form ever since he joined from Chelsea.
He was a late substitute in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Benfica on Thursday and received the abuse after the game. On his Instagram account he posted evidence of the abuse he received. “Something needs to change! The fight against racism continues”. Willian added.
Just before the Europa League game, Eddie Nketiah was sent a racist message telling him to leave Arsenal in response to a training picture he posted ahead of the Benfica game with the caption “working with a smile”.
Twitter permanently suspended the account of the abuser.
Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka has also been a victim of online abuse and threats extending to his family ever since last season.
Hector Bellerin in December 2020 also received hate comments and slurs for supporting an Arsenal fan that identified with the LGBTQ+ group.
Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football summit on Thursday, Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham called on authorities and social media companies to “wake up” and not “underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals”.
He said: “We have to take this opportunity as a wake-up call. Increasingly this type of abuse towards black players is becoming normalized. I think this a moment in time.
“There is psychological support to our players. We pro-actively track abuse players get. We support our players around when they want to take action and report it to the police. We do a lot.
“But we can’t do this alone. How do you explain to a black footballer that pirated content is taken down in minutes, but not racist abuse?”
The Premier League has a “no room for racism policy” and have also embraced the rainbow armbands.