Watford captain Troy Deeney has deactivated comments on his Instagram page after receiving racial abuse in the wake of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, in which he was called a “n****” and a “monkey”.
The 30-year-old issued a short statement on his Instagram page to reveal that he had been racially abused on Sunday night as well as receive vile messages aimed at his family.
Deeney issued a picture on his Instagram page that read “No room for racism”, which was accompanied by the caption: “Due to events from the last 24 hours I will be taking comments off my posts.
“To me this isn’t a game, when you racially abuse my family or myself I have to take measures to prevent young people seeing these comments and thinking that’s acceptable. And having to expose people I care about to these small minded people #notimeforbulls***”
Deeney also posted two screenshots of the messages that contained racist abuse, which The Independent has chosen not to re-publish.
The Watford skipper is not the only player who reported being racially abused in the aftermath of Sunday’s 3-2 victory. Both Adrian Mariappa and Christian Kabasele have also made complaints of receiving racial abuse on their social media accounts this week.
Defender Mariappa, the longest-serving member of the current Watford squad, replied to Deeney’s post saying “You weren't the only one”, while Kabasele posted a similar message of “You are not alone” and tagged both Mariappa and Deeney in his own image.
Watford have reported the incidents to police and have also contacted anti-racism group Kick It Out, who are already putting pressure on social media sites to crackdown on racist messages that are being allowed on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram along with other sharable pages.
"We have long campaigned for social media companies to take swift and decisive action against people who use their platforms for hate speech,” a Kick It Out spokesman said.
"Twitter, for instance, say abuse and harassment has ‘no place’ on its site but it is obvious that there really is a place for it there and in our view the problem is getting worse.
"We note that Twitter has a ‘Hateful Conduct Policy’ and internal technology but evidently neither is deterrent for the racists.
"We would ask all the social media companies to put a lot greater resources into finding, reporting and excluding these people and co-operating with the police to make sure they are punished.
"Footballers, like anyone in society, are entitled to go about their work without being abused, intimidated or trolled."
The incidents come not long after England players Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling were among those targeted with monkey chants and gestures during the 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifier victory over Macedonia last month. There have also been similar incidents in the Premier League and Football League, which has led to a number of black players calling for more to be done to address how racism in football is being tackled.
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