'Something needs to be done': Grant Ward calls for change after being racially abused on social media after Blackpool's game against Sunderland

Blackpool's Grant Ward says "something needs to be done" to combat online hate after being racially abused on social media.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 2:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 2:38 pm

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Grant Ward racially abused on social media following Blackpool's victory against...

The 26-year-old posted a screenshot of a private message sent to his Instagram account, which read “bastard monkey”.

It was sent to Ward at 9pm last night, just minutes after Blackpool had sealed a vital 1-0 win against play-off rivals Sunderland.

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Ward was in magnificent form for the Seasiders, but had to hobble off late on after suffering an Achilles injury.

Writing on Twitter this afternoon, Ward said: "Thanks everyone for the messages and Blackpool FC who have been very supportive.

"The account has been reported to Instagram and police are investigating.

"After all that’s happened, people are still sending racist messages out online on fake accounts, something needs to be done."

Grant Ward was racially abused on social media following Blackpool's game against Sunderland last night

Blackpool condemned the abuse in a strongly-worded statement earlier today and confirmed the matter is being investigated by the police.

The club said: “Blackpool Football Club is appalled by the abhorrent, racist abuse received by Grant Ward following the team’s fixture at Sunderland last night.

“The contents of the message, on his Instagram account, have since been reported to the social media platform and are now being investigated by the police.

“Grant has the club’s full and unwavering support in this matter, as we continue to collectively take a stand in the fight against racism and online hatred.

“Enough is enough.”

The abuse comes just three days before Blackpool are due to take part in a social media boycott in a bid to combat online discrimination.

A number of organisations, including the FA, Premier League and EFL, have come together to arrange the boycott, which will run from 3pm on Friday to 11.59pm on Monday.

It comes in response to the “ongoing and sustained discriminatory abuse received online by players and many others connected to football”.

The boycott, which also involves the League Managers’ Association and Kick It Out, amongst others, has been scheduled to take place across a full fixture programme in both the men’s and women’s professional game.

It will see clubs from the Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship switch off their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Writing on Twitter, Sunderland said they will work with Blackpool, the police and the authorities to "ensure those responsible are identified and punished for this abhorrent and unacceptable behaviour".

Lancashire Police also condemned the abuse and said this type of behaviour will "not be tolerated".

"We are investigating after racist abuse was sent to a Blackpool FC footballer," the force said in a statement.

"Police were made aware of a message sent on social media following last night's match between Sunderland and Blackpool.

"Lancashire Police strongly condemns all forms of racism. The force takes hate crime very seriously and this behaviour will not be tolerated in our communities.

"We are committed to tackling all crime motivated by hate and prejudice and we would urge anyone who has been a victim of a hate crime to have the confidence to come forward and report it to police.

"Victims will always be dealt with professionally and sympathetically."

Anyone with information related to our investigation can contact police on 101 or email [email protected] quoting log 0637 of April 28.

Hate crimes can be reported to police on the non emergency number 101 and through the Constabulary website.

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