Middlesbrough's on-loan winger Yannick Bolasie has hit out at the "keyboard warriors" who subjected him to online racial abuse and shared an image of a message he received on Instagram.
The 31-year-old, who is on loan from Everton, tweeted: "Something seriously wrong with people ... Keyboard warriors. Still yet to meet a person who had this energy when they saw me."
Everton condemned the incident and said they would not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.
Premier League
Yannick Bolasie still hopes to return before end of the year
21/06/2017 AT 12:50
"There is no room for racism in football or society. By working together, we can fight discrimination wherever it exists," the club said in a statement.
"Everybody has a part to play and social media abuse should never go unreported. We also urge social media platforms to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour."
Middlesbrough went further, saying the abuse was "vile".
"It is of great concern to the club that we are witnessing behaviour of this type and it cannot be allowed to continue", the statement said.
"As our players said when responding to the debate on taking the knee we now need to see demonstrable actions from those who have the power to implement them rather than further gestures. Actions must speak louder than words."
Instagram is reported to have blocked the offending account from sending messages while parent company Facebook looks into the matter.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Arsenal's Willian and Chelsea's Reece James are among a host of players to have been subjected to online abuse recently, prompting English soccer bodies to put pressure on social media companies to tackle the problem.
Instagram last month announced new measures to deal with online abuse, including removing accounts of people who send abusive messages and developing new controls to help reduce the abuse people see.
(Additional reporting by Reuters)
Tottenham confirm signing of Spence from Middlesbrough
19/07/2022 AT 08:35
Tottenham close on Spence signing as Bergwijn nears Ajax move - reports
06/07/2022 AT 10:43