Social media should only be used in positive way, says Wigan Athletic's Leam Richardson

Leam Richardson has thrown his backing behind football's social media boycott this Bank Holiday weekend.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:24 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 2:26 pm
Leam Richardson

The sport's largest governing bodies and organisations - including the FA, Premier League and EFL - are to go silent on social media in a show of solidarity against sustained, sickening and spiralling abuse.

They want social media platforms to take more action against abuse posted online.

Latics manager Richardson knows social media can be used positively, such as the rallying fund-raising effort when Wigan Athletic went into administration.

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But he is also well aware that a "cowardly" minority use it to post abusive posts.

"It's become apparent, certainly in the last year or so how powerful social media can be - not only in a negative way but in a positive way," said Richardson.

"I think it should be used at all times in a positive way, whether it's staying in touch with family long distance, but it's the same with everything - there's always a minority out there who are less educated who don't have the correct vocabulary and the correct vision.

"My message is to support the issue because it's growing and the platform should be used for positivity.

"It's a sad state that a minority who are not educated as most and show negativity behind a keyboard or a phone, which is cowardly."

Arsenal great Thierry Henry has called football's social media boycott this weekend a "start" in the fight against racism and discrimination.

Man United's own in-depth review of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook found 3,300 abusive posts were aimed at their players between September 2019 to February 2021 - a 350 per cent increase.

Since it was first announced, the boycott has grown as other sport governing bodies, sponsors, partners, broadcasters and media outlets have come on board.

European governing body UEFA will take part, as well as Scottish football, England Rugby, Scottish Rugby, British Cycling, the Rugby Football League, British Horseracing, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Lawn Tennis Association, International Tennis Federation and others.

Although Formula One will not take part following discussions, Sir Lewis Hamilton is also ready to join the boycott on the weekend of the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion, who has 22million followers on Instagram and more than six million on Twitter, said: "I am fully supportive of the initiative.

"If me doing it helps put pressure on those platforms in order to help fight against it then, for sure, I am happy to do so."

Formula One has issued a statement supporting the boycott, saying: "We continue to work with all platforms and our own audiences to promote respect and positive values and put a stop to racism."