Troy Deeney says social media companies don’t do enough to combat racism on their platforms, and has called on the FA to hand out mandatory lifetime bans for abusers.
The Watford captain says he regularly reports racist abuse on Instagram, only to be told the messages he reports don’t qualify as hate speech.
“Do these companies even want to change things? Do they want to stop the abuse?” Deeney questioned in the Sun.
“If a high-profile black player such as Raheem Sterling is experiencing racial abuse then everyone piles in and that drives traffic, which increases their advertising and profits.
“If I scroll down my Instagram replies, the tenth one down features a racist emoji — which is not unusual.
“So I follow the protocol, which is to block the user and report the message under the category of ‘hate speech and symbols’.
“Then I am told that an emoji with a monkey and a banana is not considered racist.
“I’ve even reported being called a ‘black c***’ and been told that isn’t hate speech either.
“They need to change their algorithms to reflect what are obviously racist posts — but do they even want to?”
Deeney also believes the punishments for players found guilty of racist abuse in English football aren’t severe enough.
Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla was found guilty of using racist language towards West Brom forward Jonathan Leko in 2019, and was banned for eight games.
Leko later said he was disappointed by the lengthy process required to reach a verdict – during which Casilla remained first-choice as Leeds won promotion – and would think twice before reporting such an incident again.
“There have been lifetime bans handed down by clubs, but not in all cases, and the FA and the leagues should insist on that being mandatory,” Deeney said.
“And when the Leeds keeper was found guilty of calling an opponent a ‘n*****’ — the worst term of racial abuse — then how can an eight-match ban and a £60,000 fine be enough?
“What sort of message does that send?”
Casilla returned to the Leeds starting XI after serving his suspension last season, but has since been replaced by Illan Meslier.