Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is calling for stronger action in football’s ongoing fight against racism, and is urging talks with key stakeholders, including the various social media companies and organizing entities like The Premier League and The FA.
“If you want to stop something, you can really do it. We as players, we can say: ‘Yeah, we can boycott social media,’ but I think it’s those companies that have to come and talk to the teams, or to the governments, or to the players themselves and find a way how to stop it because I really think they can.”
Various awareness campaigns against racism and discrimination are already in place, including the pre-match taking of the knee, occasional social media boycotts, “Kick It Out” billboards, or Chelsea’s “No To Hate”, just to mention a few, but Lukaku wants to move beyond just awareness and wants specific action, especially from social media companies whose platforms enable much of the abuse these days.
“I think we can take stronger positions, basically. Yeah, we are taking the knee, but in the end, everybody’s clapping but ... sometimes after the game, you see another insult.”
"I'm not fighting only for myself. I'm fighting for my son, for my future kids, for my brother."@RomeluLukaku9 tells @AmandaDCNN why @ChelseaFC's No To Hate campaign is crucial to helping fight online abuse: https://t.co/Qb9r5tq1rx pic.twitter.com/d3uxez8bYh— CNN Sports (@cnnsport) September 23, 2021
This isn’t the first time Lukaku, who has been subject to racist abuse in the past, has urged Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to do more, having already called on them a couple years ago, but this time he wants to sit down with them personally. And he wants the captains and leaders of all the other teams to join him. (Probably should make sure Marcos Alonso is among them as well, ey?)
“The captains of every team, and four or five players, like the big personalities of every team, should have a meeting with the CEOs of Instagram and governments and the FA and the PFA, and we should just sit around the table and have a big meeting about it. How we can attack it straight away, not only from the men’s game, but also from the women’s game.
“I think just all of us together and just have a big meeting and have a conference and just talk about stuff that needs to be addressed to protect the players, but also to protect fans and younger players that want to become professional footballers.”
Lukaku of course doesn’t want the awareness campaigns to stop, including those specifically created and championed by Chelsea. Even if they may be losing their impact, at the very least, they are continuing to create a conversation.
But after all the talk and all the symbolism, he wants to see real (and collective) action as well.
“Right now, from the owner to us, the players, we as a club ... we are really putting out a statement and taking a position that stuff like that should not be tolerated. Because, in our team, we have a lot of players that represent the club from different nationalities, different skin colors, different religions, also the women’s team where it’s the same thing.
“So I think us as a club, I think we should be an example for the other teams and basically say that, you know, whenever a form of discrimination is happening, that the club is taking a strong position and prosecuting everything that’s happening in the stands.”
-Romelu Lukaku; source: CNN
According to CNN’s report, both The FA and The PFA have already contacted Lukaku and are ready to talk and join.