French footballer, Paul Pogba, was forced to delete a recent Instagram post after he received a barrage of Islamophobic backlash from so-called “fans.”
On Sunday, the twenty-eight-year-old posted a snapshot holding his hands up in prayer in front of the Kaaba in Mecca, a sacred site for Muslims, alongside the caption: “Ya Allah! Guide us in the right path, Ya Allah accept our good deeds ,Ya Allah you are the one that forgives so forgive us. Amine! May Allah accept our Duas brothers and sisters.”
But within minutes, it was targeted by racist trolls, who flooded the comment section with Islamophobic and anti-Black comments. And just 2 hours later, the post was deleted from Pogba’s account.
After the news was of its removal reached social media users, fans took to Twitter to express their outrage at the unnecessary backlash.
“How in God’s green earth did that ig post manage to offend some people?” wrote one user.
“Disgusting, no wonder why he’s gonna leave us in the summer,” another added.
“Look, I’m neither a United [nor] Pogba fan, but still I struggle to understand why would he receive abuse for sharing something about his beliefs. Like wtf is wrong with people?” questioned another.
Others posted kind words of encouragement to the player: “@paulpogba the proper fans are with you and the proper fans support and back you.”
This type of news comes as no shock to us as football is notorious for racism. As much as we all like to pretend that “it’s gotten better” or “they’re raising awareness about it”, we can’t ignore the fact that there’s little to no progress seen within fanbases. While actual players are trying their best to stand against hate, a massive portion of the fans continue to abuse POC and Black players, often using slurs in the stands, or hiding behind a computer screen and posting monkey emojis under posts. Some even go as far as physically throwing bananas out onto the pitch.
In the United Kingdom, we had an overwhelmingly vile display of hate during last year’s Euro Cup. Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were victims of a racist tirade after they missed their penalty shots during the tournament’s final game against Italy, again, re-emphasising the deeply-rooted issues within the game as well as our country as a whole.
You just know things are bad when even white players are getting abused for taking the knee before games. Imagine booing an anti-racist movement. Just say you’re racist and hand yourself in. And don’t even get me started on Priti Patel and the rest of the Tory cronies. Imagine being the Home Secretary of the UK and publicly telling fans they have “the right” to boo players while they actively protest racism. Yeah, we’ve not forgotten. We kept all the receipts.
That’s the UK for you. And to be honest, the rest of the world isn’t much better. We still have a lot of work to do.
We stand with Paul Pogba, may Allah make it easier for you.