Stan Collymore is a bit of an eejit when it comes to football but when it comes to Twitter he’s bang on.
He wasn’t the world’s most popular footballer when he played for Nottingham Forrest and Liverpool and now, as a pundit and a radio phone-in host, he’s become even more divisive.
Last weekend, after Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, Collymore accused Liverpool striker Luis Suarez of diving.
As you’d expect, this annoyed many Liverpool fans. Collymore is an avid user of social networking site, Twitter, so many fans opted to convey their anger by sending the former Aston Villa striker tweets (messages).
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the vast majority of the messages but some so-called members of the human race decided to racially abuse Collymore.
One Twitter user called Collymore a “f******g slave” and another said “I will kill you while you sleep n*****.”
It’s far too easy for people to belittle Collymore’s complaints but at the end of the day, how would you feel if you constantly received messages on Twitter or Facebook from people threatening to kill you or abusing you because of the colour of your skin, your religious beliefs or your nationality?
It wouldn’t be tolerated in daily life therefore it should not be tolerated on sites such as Twitter and Facebook either.
You’d have to be a descendant of some undiscovered species of pond life to believe that there’s nothing wrong with racism. Most of us agree that it should be challenged and punished whenever possible.
Human beings are masters when it comes to noticing differences with others. Differences can range from the colour of someone’s skin, their sexuality, the football team they support or if they are wearing glasses.
There’s nothing wrong with noticing and highlighting differences - it’s what makes us human - but it’s utterly unacceptable to use these differences to abuse and attack someone.
Stan Collymore is entitled to think Luis Suarez dived and others are entitled to disagree with him. I am not contesting that for one moment but it becomes an entirely different situation when people attempt to use Collymore’s race as a way of discrediting his point.
Collymore appeared on BBC Radio Five Live earlier this week to talk about the issue. Whilst I disagreed with a few of his points I didn’t once feel the urge to send him a message calling him a “black b*****d” but a young boy claiming to be from Dungannon felt differently.
As we say in these parts, ‘you couldn’t make it up’. While Collymore was live on air talking about being racially abused on Twitter, the young man claiming to be from Dungannon, yes you’ve guessed it, racially abused him on Twitter.
Specific legislation regarding what you can and cannot say online is constantly evolving but there is no grey area when it comes to racially abusing another human being.
Technophiles and technophobes know racism is wrong. It’s a universal rule of society but for some reason people think they can say what they want to who they want on the Internet.
Twitter fans like using hash-tags. How about this one? #RacismShouldNeverEverBeTolerated