After a disappointing Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday, many Liverpool “fans” showed their true colors, and I can tell you definitively they were anything but the club’s distinctive red.
There’s no denying Liverpool’s performance left something to be desired. The club’s most loyal and levelheaded fans urged the team and players to lift their heads, reset, and try again in the second leg of the quarter-finals. Unfortunately, this group was overpowered by a far more malicious crowd who turned to racist insults (specifically offensive emojis) to express their displeasure.
For a club whose anthem is “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” it’s ironic how quickly the supporters turn on their players when mistakes are made and games are lost.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita are the latest in a long string of Premier League players who have been the targets of racist remarks on social media. Though criticism coming from fans is hardly ever constructive, it’s something these high-level professional players have come to expect. Racism however should neither be expected nor tolerated and the fact that this is something that still needs to be stated out loud is horrifying.
Liverpool condemns the racist social media remarks.
The club took to social media themselves to express their extreme disgust with the disgraceful, racist behavior directed at their players, and the need for social media sites like Instagram to step up and play their part in preventing such comments from making it onto their platform in the first place.
From the gruelling physical toll on their bodies to the many challenging mental aspects of competing at the highest levels of the sport, these players face enough pressure and strain on a day to day basis without having to battle unsolicited attacks from the very people who are supposed to be lifting them up.
Through their Red Together initiative, Liverpool seeks to actively promote equality, diversity, and inclusion and play a role in eradicating racism from the league. This is a positive and necessary step in the right direction.
No one should have to spend emotional energy wondering what kind of racist comments they’ll be the victim of that day. When players like Alexander-Arnold and Keita aren’t able to devote 100% of their energy to playing the best game they can, everyone loses.
The Premier League continues to promote their No Room For Racism campaign, but for those who seem to have missed the memo, here’s a summary of their message. There’s no room for racism. Anywhere. Ever.
Here’s hoping the future of the league is one in which the players can be treated respectfully as human beings and can be appreciated for the outstanding athletes they are.