BENNING RACIALLY ABUSED ON TWITTER
Mal Benning: Racist abuse left Mansfield Town player 'stunned'
"It made me feel a bit sick when I first saw it. The language that was used was quite disheartening. I was shocked"
By Dev Trehan & Bela Shah, 17/01/20
Mansfield Town defender Mal Benning says he was left stunned by a racist tweet he received on Monday evening.
Benning earned plaudits across the game for highlighting the online abuse by quoting the tweet with the comment: "Not experienced much 'racism' as one of very few Asian players in the professional game. But there is no need for this no matter what race you are or what team you support."
The 26-year-old is one of just a handful of British Asian players in league football and says he was taken aback by the tweet as he had never previously experienced racism as a professional in the game.
"I finished training, went home as everyone does and I just received a Twitter notification and thought it was just general football stuff," he told Sky Sports News.
"But when I looked at it - a racially abusive tweet - I was quite stunned and taken aback because it is the first time I have experienced it in professional football.
"It made me feel a bit sick when I first saw it. The language that was used was quite disheartening. I was shocked.
"The first thing I did was contact the head of media at Mansfield and asked him what I should do. He gave me the right advice which was to raise awareness about it, which I did."
Asked about the reaction he has received in the days since, Benning said: "It was superb. As everyone knows I tagged the PFA and Kick It Out and both were first class as were the chairman, the manager, the CEO and the fans.
"The players at Mansfield have also been top drawer and made sure I was okay. The support I got from everyone - including other football fans - was superb."
Benning echoed recent calls from many in the game that social media providers need to do a lot more to regulate their accounts.
"Kick It Out and PFA reported this to Twitter and have been first class regarding it and the tweet was then taken down," he said.
"I spoke to Jason Lee (the equalities education executive) at the PFA and he made a very valid point regarding Twitter.
"Anyone can type anything behind a keyboard. He made a very valid point of making your identity known on Twitter so you cannot just hide behind a keyboard.
"For example, putting your passport number in to make a proper profile, so it's not these fake profiles that can just tweet you anything they want. I think the way the PFA made that point was very valid.
"I think social media platforms do need to look at that if I am being honest because there are a lot of fake accounts a lot of false identities so anyone can say anything. If identification of the person is made, a lot of it will stop."
After failed trials at Aston Villa, West Brom and Birmingham, Benning joined Walsall as a youngster and spent three years with the Saddlers after turning professional before joining League Two Mansfield in 2015.
The Birmingham-born left-back, whose parents hail from the North Indian state of Punjab, hopes what happened to him earlier this week does not deter aspiring young Asian players from trying to forge a career in football.
"As one of few Asian players in the game I don't want this to discourage any young players coming up and thinking I don't want to go into professional football," he said.
"This is the minority. It's still not nice, it's still abusive obviously, but I don't want it to discourage them. It's not as bad as this [all the time] because it is the first time I have experienced it in eight years of football."
Police investigate racist abuse claim by Mansfield defender Mal Benning
PFA: "We cannot understand why Twitter allows racist accounts to continue to participate on the platform. We are calling on @TwitterUK to reconsider their policy and to take stronger action on accounts that post hateful rhetoric"
Police are investigating claims Mansfield defender Mal Benning has been subjected to racist abuse on social media.
The 26-year-old left-back highlighted a tweet he received on Monday evening in which he was allegedly racially abused.
In response, Benning, who has played more than 200 matches for the Sky Bet League Two club, wrote: "Not experienced much 'racism' as one of very few Asian players in the professional game.
"But there is no need for this no matter what race you are or what team you support."
Benning, who joined Mansfield from Walsall in 2015, included anti-racism group Kick it Out and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) in his message. Mansfield also re-posted Benning's tweet.
Mansfield Police Football's Twitter account responded to the message by saying: "We are aware and will be investigating."
twitter Mal Benning @Mal_1993
Not experienced much “racism” as one of very few Asian players in the professional game. But there is no need for this no matter what race you are or what team you support! @kickitout @PFA https://twitter.com/SheridanOut/status/1216790467670609920 …
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the PFA called on Twitter to urgently reconsider its policy on accounts that spew racism.
"Last night, Malvind Benning was subjected to vile racist abuse here on @Twitter. The PFA reported the post directly to Twitter, and the offending tweet was removed," the footballers' union wrote.
"While we commend the quick action, simply deleting a post is an insufficient response to tackling racist abuse.
"We cannot understand why Twitter allows racist accounts to continue to participate on the platform. We are calling on @TwitterUK to reconsider their policy and to take stronger action on accounts that post hateful rhetoric.
"In December, we called for a government inquiry into racism in football. We have been in contact with the Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding this issue.
"We will be working to ensure all forms of racist abuse - whether from the stands or social media networks - are included in this process."
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