United Midfielder Fred Subjected to Racial Abuse After FA Cup Exit

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The list of all the football players who have recently been victims to racial abuse is monstrously long. It’s the ugliest side of the beautiful game, and it includes names like Raheem Sterling, Antonio Rudiger, Marcus Rashford, Mario Balotelli, Paul Pogba, Tammy Abraham, Jesse Lingard, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Yaya Toure, Anthony Martial, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eddie Nketiah, Axel Tuanzebe and Willian.

Unfortunately, another one is added today, in Manchester United midfielder Fred. The Brazilian was at fault for Leicester City’s opening goal in the Foxes’ shocking 3-1 upset of United in the FA Cup quarterfinals yesterday.

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Fred had a bad individual performance, but the team has a whole played very poorly overall, and singling out the showing of the former Shakhtar Donetsk man is somewhat unfair. Of course, it’s fair to criticize his performance on the pitch, but wins, losses and draws happen as a team, where everyone sinks or swims together.

What happened to Fred after the game was absolutely unacceptable and indefensible, as a number of racially abusive comments were posted on his official Instagram account, some of which included a derogatory emoji. It’s astounding that behavior like this still persists, in the era of #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeaKnee

“What the Black Lives Matter movement has done so far is amplify the position of people of color,” said NBC Analyst Robbie Earle on a media call at the start of this Premier League season.

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“It’s brought it to attention. There seems to be a will for people to sit around and discuss things, but then we have to see actions that are accountable, that can be checked, that you can look back and find out if things are working and adapt them if they are not.”

“In some respect, it feels like this is the first step for the Premier League and the FA in what is a huge step forward.  We have seen campaigns that have lasted maybe a weekend where we have had a little concentration on it, but things have tended to go away.  

“I feel as though this has got a different energy, a bigger determination to get things done.”

Last month, English football launched the No Room For Racism Action Plan. A couple days after that, the Premier League started putting pressure on social media companies to police racist activity on their platforms.

So we are beginning to see some actions now; finally. However, this is only the beginning, as it’s going to take a lot more action to try bring about real change. 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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