Liverpool Women winger Rinsola Babajide has described the abuse she receives online as “draining and tiring” but hopes the recent cross-sport social media boycott can inspire positive change.
The 22-year-old recently shared a screenshot of the racist and sexist abuse she was sent on Instagram in April, just one of a growing number of athletes who have been targeted on social media platforms in recent months.
Despite reaching the conclusion that she is no longer surprised the abuse occurs, Babajide is adamant the perpetrators will not stop her from playing the sport she loves.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Women’s Football Show, Babajide said: “The recent thing that occurred is just someone being sexist and racist towards me under one of my posts.
“It is draining and tiring but I can’t say I am surprised because it has happened so often.
“As a Black female in the game, I just feel like it is part of playing the sport because it has happened so often. I just need to make sure I stay strong, ignore it and carry on doing what I love.
“Even my parents and my family members scrolling through, they are disgusted by it.
“It has happened so regularly that no one is actually surprised. They (my family) just want to make sure that it doesn’t affect me.
“We’ve always been told as professional athletes that we should speak out, to try and make a change.
“A lot of us have actually spoken out and social media platforms are still not being accountable.”
Where abuse occurs, Babajide contacts her agent who then gets in touch with the relevant authorities and the social media platforms.
In her case, the offending account was closed but Babajide has questioned how those found to have been abusive can create another account under a new, and often anonymous, profile.
While admitting that the types of change required might be slow in coming following a four-day social media boycott across sports including football, rugby union, cricket and tennis, the need for education remains of vital importance.
She is also hopeful that social media companies can put more stringent measures in place to make it harder to access their platforms.
“The person that sent me those messages made a new account straight after,” Babajide added. “I don’t understand why they are allowed to make another one.
“I am not expecting a miracle to happen right this minute. I know it will take time to educate everyone and let them know that discriminating people is just not right.
“Hopefully social media platforms let us know they don’t support the negative words that people are using on social media and put a stop to it – whether that’s making it harder to verify your account and own an account on social media, or if it’s them deactivating and swiftly removing negative comments they see.”
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