The Blues boss has issued a harsh rebuttal towards the messages his players get online and wants to see more done to protect them
Frank Lampard has backed Kick It Out, the anti-discrimination football charity, in calls for Twitter to do more to protect footballers after Tammy Abraham was racially abused on their platform this week.
The abuse came after Abraham missed the decisive penalty in a 5-4 shootout loss in the Super Cup final against Liverpool on Wednesday. The defeat came after the two sides played out a 2-2 draw over 120 minutes in Istanbul.
The Blues manager has since seen abuse towards the 21-year-old striker emerge and is concerned about the hate modern players get online. Lampard is keen to see social media platforms like Twitter better protect young players.
“Firstly, the person that’s writing it should have a look at themselves, and secondly, I think it should be policed,” Lampard told reporters at Cobham Training Centre. “We’re asking Tammy Abraham to see that after he’s trying to help us win the Super Cup, doing his day job.
“He’s been doing [his job] since he was eight or nine. And he gets that [racist abuse]. It’s incredible. In my day, five out of 10 in The Sun was a bad reflection of performance. Now it’s instant. And it’s not a joke. It’s not funny when it becomes hate. That’s where we go far beyond.
“I’m not just talking about Tammy’s situation. It’s far too easy to spout hate casually on these social media platforms. I agree it’s difficult for the players. This is modern life. They are on social media. All of them. I am concerned about it.
“To say they need to be thick-skinned is too easy to say. When it becomes you and it becomes hurtful, it’s a problem we have to deal with. It’s difficult to say don’t look at it. They’re all on social media as soon as they go on the coach.
“It’s difficult from my end [to stop them going on it]. The social media companies, are they ever going to stop someone casually putting up what someone did against Tammy? That’s their responsibility. We are more aware of [it] because it is more out there, but I don’t know if its getting better or worse.
“It’s a really difficult one because we are trying to change attitudes and there’s a lot of paces forward but suddenly there’s paces backwards. It’s about the education of people – but when they hide behind phones, then it is very tough.”
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Twitter believe they have made significant progress to stopping racism on their platform after issuing a “health update” earlier this year. The social media platform is a hugely successful space for football debate and grossed $3 billion in 2018.
They offered a statement on how they deal with racism, including the several incidents that relate to Abraham.
“We continue to take action on any account that violates the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
“We welcome people to freely express themselves on our service, however, as outlined in our Hateful Conduct Policy, users cannot promote violence against, threaten or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity or other protected groups.
“We remain deeply committed to improving the health of the conversation on the service and in that respect, we continue to prioritise the safety of our users.”
However, Kick It Out have been unconvinced by the efforts made on various social media platforms.
“Last night we received reports of racist abuse at Tammy Abraham on social media after Chelsea’s Uefa Super Cup match,” a Kick It Out statement read.
“Such abuse is now increasingly predictable, but no less disgusting.
“We send our support to Tammy and reiterate our call for Twitter and other social media companies to clamp down on this level of abuse. This is a call to action – we want to know what they are going to do to tackle this insidious problem.”
The issues around racism have slightly overshadowed that Sunday will be Lampard’s homecoming game at Stamford Bridge, as he prepares to return as manager.
This comes after a hugely successful career as a player where he racked up almost every major trophy and scored 211 goals, becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer from central midfield.
Lampard has dismissed claims that he is under pressure to deliver after losing his first two games, but he is desperate to win in his first home match in charge.
“What people hopefully saw in the performances, particularly on Wednesday, was a team giving everything and playing good football.
“There were signs of what I want, which is energy in the team. Of course, winning is the most important thing but I think if we perform as we did on Wednesday and in parts of the Manchester United game, then we are going towards where we want to go.
“But what I will say is I’ve not had any pressure of someone saying, ‘Why did you not win those games?’. We know that. We know we’re Chelsea and want to win every game we play.
“But I think the good signs on Sunday and Wednesday were overpowering. But now we must win.”