Kick It Out reveals big increase in reports of abuse with social media providing a new outlet for racism and homophobia

 

The Kick It Out organisation has received a 43 per cent increase in reports of discriminatory remarks being posted on social media in the last year, as the anonymity of the likes of Facebook and Twitter provides a new outlet for racism and homophobia

Speaking during a Radio Five Live debate on homophobia, Kick it Out’s director Roisin Wood reveals that the organisation’s own renewed attempts to persuade fans to report discrimination at grounds has seen complaints increase three fold overall. The app which Kick it Out it launched last July to help fans overcome fears about recriminations for reporting abuse has contributed significantly to the increase.

Ms Wood told the debate, at Manchester’s National Football Museum, that social media was a “massive issue” where racist and homophobic abuse was concerned. “Sometimes people are using the force of social media to abuse players and to abuse other fans. These are very serious indications. We can only see that going one way and that’s an increase,” she said.

Commentator Stan Collymore deactivated his Twitter account last month after complaining about persistent racist abuse and declaring that the trend was “getting worse.” Each report of abuse communicated through the app goes automatically to the Football Association, the relevant clubs and leagues as well as Kick It Out. Ms Wood said more prosecutions have followed.

The West Bromwich Albion defender Steven Reid told the debate that he had been embroiled in abuse when he left the dressing room to find a number of abusive comments written in the dust on his car - and amongst them was “Steven Reid is gay.” Reid, who is heterosexual, said: “Stupidly that found its way onto a social network site and there was trouble after that. I wanted to know [from my teammates] who did it. You’ve got to have some balls to stand up and say that’s wrong. But what hit home to me was that taking the word gay out of it and putting a racist word in [would have made it viewed far differently.]”

Reid said it was up to senior players, like himself, to challenge homophobia in the dressing room. “If you hear something unacceptable – or find something unacceptable as a senior player – I wouldn’t have it,” he said.

The Manchester City Ladies’ goalkeeper Dani Brown told the debate that “if I was a male footballer I wouldn’t come out. We might play in front of a crowd of 200 people but these guys in the men’s game are playing in front of 47,000 people – they’ll use anything against you to put you off your game. I totally understand why men footballers’ won’t come out. I think we’ve seen that in pro football when people have got wind of particular stories in the media and then the chants about all sort of things start.”

She said that she had regularly heard homophobic abuse at the Etihad during City men’s first team games. “I’m a season ticket holder at City and I’ve heard homophobic abuse there quite often. But it’s having the guts to go and call that out or approaching some 15 stone bloke who’s at the front abusing a steward for instance. Who’s brave enough to make that step?  I’ve never had any homophobic abuse at a women’s game – in the street yes, but not at a game.”

Owen Coyle, the former Burnley, Bolton and Wigan manager, said: “There used to be a time when if an opposition player was terrific he would be applauded. All that’s changed now. People come along to abuse you – a minority maybe. I can understand why a high profile player would be reluctant because of the vitriol and abuse they receive in games. People think it’s acceptable. The sooner that’s eradicated, the better.

“When they are in the dressing room you can understand why a player would be reluctant [to come out] They would be the butt of the jokes. I don’t think that’s malicious. I was a teammate of Justin Fashanu’s at Airdrie. The players welcomed him with open arms in the dressing room. That’s not to say there wasn’t banter. Justin was the butt of opposition fans too. There’s a fine line between the banter and being offensive.”

The Homophobia in Sport debate is broadcast on BBC Radio 5 Live at 9pm on Thursday night

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose
News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past