London (AFP) – Declan Rice on Tuesday said England players could consider boycotting social media in the future if the current abuse of Premier League stars is not resolved.
Former Arsenal and France star Thierry Henry left all of his platforms earlier this week after saying enough had not been done to tackle racist abuse across social media sites.
A host of Premier League players including Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial and Chelsea’s Reece James have been subjected to vile online taunts.
Calls for social media companies to take stronger action against internet trolls have so far produced an underwhelming response in the eyes of many Premier League players.
Ahead of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Poland, West Ham midfielder Rice said the England team had yet to discuss the issue as a group but he hinted they could be forced to take action if the situation doesn’t improve.
“I think something definitely has to be done. There has been way too much social media abuse, in the last year especially,” Rice told reporters.
“For someone like me, who runs my own account and has that interaction and love with the fans, I don’t have any problems with social media.
“I think it’s important that a player like me can have that interaction with West Ham fans and England fans.
“But yes, Thierry Henry has obviously boycotted it and I saw (Gareth) Bale came out and say something. It’s maybe a decision that will be spoken about in the future by the players.”
Ironically, Rice was speaking after becoming a more light-hearted social media meme over the weekend following England’s World Cup qualifier against Albania.
As England celebrated a goal in the 2-0 victory, Rice put up his hand for a high five only to be roundly ignored by his team-mates — an image that went viral on the internet.
“It was funny because as we were on the plane and just about to leave Albania, Harry Kane, I didn’t think he’d seen what had happened and he’s seen the video and called me and said, ‘Dec, sorry mate’,” Rice said.
“I turned round to him and had a bit of a laugh. Like I said to the boss, I’ve been turned into a meme again.
“We had the one with Mason (Mount) scaring me and obviously now I’ve been left hanging, so I need to improve on that front.”
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