Troy Deeney has called on social media companies and the government to do more to eradicate racism after the #PlayersTogether initiative launched a raffle of Black Lives Matter shirts worn by Premier League footballers.
Watford’s captain, who is proud that #PlayersTogether is raising funds for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Foundation with the Shirts for Change raffle, believes that it remains too easy to abuse people anonymously on social media websites and argued that more needs to be done to tackle racist attitudes following the killing of George Floyd by police in the United States.
“Racism has always existed but the shocking incident of George Floyd’s murder, seen on screens all around the world, has acted like a catalyst for these worldwide protests and demonstrations,” Deeney said. “The fact this incident was caught on camera for the full duration, I think, has made even the most cynical of people realise that police brutality, racism and social injustice are real and can’t continue in 2020.
“For me, when I was growing up I was told the police weren’t on our side. From being stereotyped because we drive nice cars to being judged for the clothing we wear, I was told I would never be given the benefit of the doubt. When the world’s moving towards being the most inclusive it’s ever been, it’s unthinkable that certain basic aspects of life are still so unfair for the black community.
“Even now, as a footballer I’ve experienced many types of racism. Whether that’s abuse on the field or from the crowd, it’s never easy to deal with, but social media is now the biggest platform for these cowards to share and target their hate. People are abused daily on these sites and it’s not okay. We have to call on social media platforms, governments and society to do more. If we can’t impact change in this current climate we never will. We need to change people’s mindsets, old and young.”
Deeney is taking an active role in the fight against discrimination. Shirts bearing the message “Black Lives Matter” were worn by Premier League players when the season resumed earlier this month and #PlayersTogether, a charitable fund created by the 20 top-flight captains, have been auctioning them off to raise funds for disadvantaged young people.
“We do not stand for racism on the pitch, in society or anywhere else it rears its ugly head,” Deeney said. “I hope that this will be a great way for fans to help support a fantastic cause , give them a chance to own a special and symbolic shirt, and raise a huge amount of money in the process.” The raffle ends on Monday night and tickets cost £5 on eBay UK.
The last #PlayersTogether raffle, Shirts for Heroes, raised £1m for NHS charities.