'It's something we have to deal with' - Doncaster Rovers midfielder on racist abuse and the social media boycott

Doncaster Rovers midfield AJ Greaves believes this weekend’s social media boycott across football will mainly succeed in keeping the conversation going about eradicating racist abuse from the game.

By Liam Hoden
Friday, 30th April 2021, 12:46 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 1:53 pm

From 3pm on Friday until 11.59pm on Tuesday, organisations and individuals across football and other sports will fall silent in protest at the discriminatory abuse received online by players.

Greaves is under no illusions that the abuse will end but believes companies should be doing more to prevent those posting from being handed a platform to do so.

AJ Greaves

“Personally I think it will just keep the conversation going because it’s been how long now that this racial abuse has been happening,” the 20-year-old said.

“With Black Lives Matter, you see some Premier League players not taking the knee. Everyone has their own different opinions.

“My personal opinion is that it is something that won’t just stop straight away.

“The social media thing, if it works, it works. If not it’s back to square one.

“There’s only so much you can do.

“There’s so many different ways for people to be racist, posting or sending messages.

“If it was up to me and I was in control of social media stuff, as soon as that has been reported that person should not be able to have an account ever again.

“But there are so many different ways to message someone.

“It’s something that we have to deal with but the less there is the better.”

Greaves this week signed a new one year deal with Rovers and hopes to be part of the first team picture much more regularly from next season.

If he is successful in doing that, his profile in the game will grow which will arguably leave him more susceptible to receiving abusive messages.

Greaves says he is not too concerned about that at this stage but there was an element of resignation in his answers that he expects the abuse will come.

“I’m not really worried,” he said.

“Everyone has different opinions and the fact that people have to get racial about it, talking about skin colour, when it is just a game of football, just shows how much of a person you are really.

“What I don’t understand is that you have black players playing for England that you want to chant for and support. But when they go back to their clubs it’s different and you’re calling them all sorts of nonsense.

“It’s bizarre to be quite honest.

“What I thought was bizarre was the amount of people who had something to say about the Super League. Everyone had an opinion on it.

“But the racial abuse side of things got put to the side. Imagine if anyone had that same amount of energy about people being racist on a day to day basis.”

A statement from Rovers in support of the boycott said: “We know that a boycott alone will not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, which is why we will continue to take proactive steps to call for change.

“We will not stop challenging social media companies until we see enough progress.”



In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden editor.