Mikel Arteta reveals his family were threatened online and calls for better protection

Mikel Arteta’s family have been subjected to online abuse

Mikel Arteta is the latest name to push for better protection against online abuse after revealing he and his family have been targeted recently.

The Arsenal manager said he no longer uses his Twitter account after receiving abuse on social media.

He joins a host of individuals across the men’s and women’s professional game who have been targeted.

Arteta said he prefers not to read anything about himself on social media after flagging abuse aimed at him and his family to Arsenal.

“I think if we would be reading everything that is written about us, probably we’d have to stay in bed a lot of days,” he said.

“I think we are all exposed in this industry to that and that’s why I prefer not to read because it would affect me personally much more the moment somebody wants to touch my family.

“Because it happened, the club was aware of it and we tried to do something about it. And that’s it. We have to live with it.

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“It is not going to stop tomorrow, we know that, but medium, long-term can we do something about it? That’s what I am pushing for.”

Football’s leaders have sent an open letter to social media companies calling on them to do more to stamp out abuse following the spate of recent incidents.

Manchester United players Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe, Anthony Martial and Lauren James are among those who have been the targets of racist abuse on social media, along with West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and Chelsea defender Reece James – Lauren’s brother.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said on Thursday he had been made aware of social media users wishing him dead, while referee Mike Dean asked not to officiate a Premier League game this weekend after he and his family received death threats.

Although Arteta did not specify when the abuse about him was written, his Arsenal side went through a sticky patch of form before Christmas where there was more of an online clamour for him to be sacked.

Arteta said he could deal with the abuse and that it is “part of the job”, but was firmer when asked if it was different when it came to protecting those around him.

“We are lucky enough as well that the club is very supportive, we do what we have to do when those things happened,” he said.

“It isn’t going to go tomorrow, but medium and long-term can we do something about it to protect more the people who are involved in the game and in other industries where it happens the same way.

“I am not the only one who is suffering these kind of things, I think when you are winning everything is beautiful and you are incredible and you are the best coach and when you lose it is the complete opposite.

“That is the reality and it is not pleasant. When it goes personal against me I can take it but when the family is involved then it is a different story.”

PA

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