English football has announced a three days boycott of social media to raise awareness against online abuse. I am no footballer and I even do not follow football but I follow Formula One, and thanks to Lewis Hamilton engagement against racism I got aware of this initiative. Sport should be all about coming together in a joyful way and transforming the instinct to compete and fight into a game based on fairness and respect. However, far too often sport – and football in particular being so popular – makes itself a vector of abuse, online or in person, verbal or physical.
Abuse is part of our society and – like all of the human shortcomings – it will be never fully eradicated. However, abuse should still rise indignity from all us, either if online or not. Sadly, influential people have contributed to normalize online abuse, attitudes that are then percolating back into the streets. Admittingly, every person might have a different sensitivity and personal judgment about what ‘abuse’ is beyond the strict legal definition. This should not be, however, used as a free pass even just to be unkind, certainly not to be, well… you guessed… abusive.
Then, as someone active on social media, despite not being an athlete for the past quarter of a century, I’ll turn my social media off until Monday night in solidarity with this initiative and any victim of abuse.