English, Scottish rugby players latest to join football in social media boycott

The Lawn Tennis Association has also backed the campaign, which aims to encourage social media companies to do more to eradicate online hate.

English cricket will join football's social media blackout this weekend in response to continued online racist abuse of professional players in the country   -  AP

English cricket will join football's social media blackout this weekend in response to continued online racist abuse of professional players in the country, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Wednesday.

England Rugby and Scottish Rugby said on Thursday they would join football and other sports' social media blackout this weekend in a show of solidarity against online abuse.

The ECB with all 18 first-class county team, the eight women's regional team and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) will join the football community in switching off their social media accounts from 3 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Friday to 11.59 p.m. on Monday May 3.

"As a sport, we are united in our commitment to fight racism and we will not tolerate the kind of discriminatory abuse that has become so prevalent on social media platforms," ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison said.

"No professional sportsperson should have to suffer abuse, racism or harassment on social media," Red Roses captain Sarah Hunter said.

"We've all seen how social media can help bring fans and players closer together but this does not mean abuse should be ignored."

Scottish Rugby said the move was supported by both professional club, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, as well as Rugby Players Scotland.

The campaign has received backing from Premiership Rugby, English cricket and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), as well as broadcasters BT Sport, Sky Sports and talkSPORT.

"Social media can play a very positive role in sport, widening its audience and connecting fans with their heroes in a way that was never possible before.

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"However, players and supporters alike must be able to use these platforms safe in the knowledge they do not risk the prospect of facing appalling abuse."

Cricketers have not been immune to online abuse, with England fast bowler Jofra Archer revealing last year that he received racist messages on social media after breaching bio-bubble protocols during the test series against West Indies.

Earlier this month, England seam bowler Stuart Broad said the national team players were willing to take a stand against online abuse.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has also backed the campaign, which aims to encourage social media companies to do more to eradicate online hate.

"British and international tennis players frequently suffer abuse online, simply for losing a match or even a point. This abuse is often especially targeted at female players," the LTA said in a statement.