'It did affect me massively': Ireland's Derrick Williams on racial abuse from club fan

'It did affect me massively': Ireland's Derrick Williams on racial abuse from club fan
Derrick Williams. Picture: Sportsfile

Ireland's Derrick Williams has spoken out about being on the end of online racist abuse from one of his club's own supporters.

Blackburn Rovers star Williams received online abuse from a fan, with the club banning the individual from going to matches at Ewood Park.

The Ireland defender praised the club for how they handled things, but said it affected him "massively".

Speaking about the situation to the Lancashire Telegraph, Williams said: "It was difficult, especially because it was from one of our own fans.

"It really annoyed me and got under my skin to be fair. You see it so much, it’s sad to see.

"I don’t know what people are going to do to try and prevent it. It’s a tough one.

But it did affect me massively, particularly with it being our own fan.

The club has helped me a lot with that, with their ban, and it was good to see the club react the way it did.

Williams, however, was critical of equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out saying he "would have liked to see more" from them.

He said players should be taking a stand against racism from the terraces and social media.

"I could easily have seen that comment and could have just let it slide.

"But I thought ‘no, why should I?’

"This is not good enough. He deserves a ban, at least, and I wanted people to know that it’s not acceptable just to comment on social media and think they can get away with it.

Derrick Williams. Picture: PA
Derrick Williams. Picture: PA

"I don’t know why they feel so entitled. I don’t go to their way and call them racist names."

Williams added that recent comments from Tottenham full-back Danny Rose shows how racism affects players.

The England international said he couldn't wait for his career to be over due to abuse and labelled the way racism in football is dealt with by authorities as a “farce”.

Rose, along with Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi were subjected to monkey chants by Montenegro fans during England’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win last month.

Talking about Rose's comments, Williams said: "People are laughing about what he said about finishing football, but that shows how it affects him.

"People say ‘oh yeah but you’re getting paid a lot of money’ but money isn’t everything.

"We’re privileged to get paid what we do, but when you’re constantly getting abused, mentally, I don’t think it’s worth it."

Derrick Williams. Picture: Sportsfile
Derrick Williams. Picture: Sportsfile

"At the end of the day, you see what people do when they don’t have good mental health, so it’s a touchy subject and difficult to know where to go."

Last year, Williams' Ireland teammate Cyrus Christie highlighted the level of racist abuse he receives online.

Christie was the target of such abuse after Ireland's World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark, referring to the scale of abuse as "almost normal".

Racism has blighted football in recent months with a number of high-profile players being hit with abuse.

Arsenal have condemned racist abuse directed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly during Thursday night's Europa League match at the Emirates Stadium.

On the same night, three people were denied entry to Chelsea's Europa League game after being involved in a social media video that included a racially abusive chant about Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Last weekend saw more unsavoury incidents across English football.

On Monday, Lancashire Police said a 20-year-old man from Sheffield had been arrested after handing himself in at Blackpool Police Station following an abusive message sent to Wigan player Nathan Byrne on Twitter on Saturday.

There was also an arrest after Derby’s 3-3 draw at Brentford where Rams midfielder Duane Holmes was the victim of alleged abuse.

On Tuesday, Watford player Christian Kabasele shared pictures of racist messages he had received on social media after the Hornets' FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves.

Kabasele's club captain Troy Deeney disabled comments on his Instagram page after reporting racial abuse following the victory.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp today called for anyone who is involved in “disgusting” racist abuse to be banned from football for life.

Meanwhile, Brighton defender Bernardo said those found guilty of racial abuse in football should be sent to jail.

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