Thierry Henry has hailed an ‘historic’ week in the fight against racism following the conviction of policeman Derek Chauvin in the United States and English football’s decision to boycott social media for three days over its handling of hatred and discrimination.
Henry, who quit social media in March due to the lack of action on bullying and harrassment, said people were realising the power they had to affect change.
“This is what I was hoping for when I announced I was coming off all the platforms and this is what I was talking about — the strength of the pack,” Henry wrote in his column in the Sun.
“English football coming off social media is a powerful statement.
“If John Smith from Portsmouth and Steve Jones from Liverpool aren’t happy, the companies will be: ‘OK, cool.’
“They don’t care about me, either. They don’t care about individuals. They care about big companies that are going to be upset with them.”
High-profile players such as Manchester United‘s Marcus Rashford and Lauren James, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling and Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold have reported that they have received racist abuse on social media platforms.
The growing volume of incidents prompted the governing bodies and leagues in English football to write to Twitter and Facebook in February, demanding stricter enforcement of anti-discriminatory regulations.
Henry added that the fan reaction to the European Super League had given people a better understanding of the power they hold.
“I thought that if we all did it together, you put people in a situation where they have to answer — just like what happened with the ESL,” he said.
“Now look — the whole of English football isn’t happy with you. The social media platforms — what have you got to say?
“Football fans, people everywhere, they are realising the power we can have if we all come together, no matter what the issue is.”
“He didn’t have to bring up the issue of racism, he could simply have addressed the question about the Super League,” Henry added.
“I thought: ‘It’s not your community, but I feel like it does affect you, Pat Bamford, and that it affects football.’
“Right now, English football is standing for something more than football, more than just having a good league.”