‘I have to report 30 to 40 messages a day’

‘I have to report 30 to 40 messages a day’

Deeney says “no-one is off-limits” when it comes to social media abuseBirmingham City striker Troy Deeney says he reports “30 to 40” abusive messages to social media platforms every day.

He said the discrimination, which has involved his partner and children, has forced him to consider retirement.

“In the grounds it is borderline between what is classed as banter and hateful crime,” said Deeney, 33.

“On social media it is huge. Personally I have to report 30 to 40 messages a day.”

Deeney, who joined Birmingham in August after his 11-year stint at Watford ended, added: “That might be targeted at me, my partner and my kids, no-one is off limits.

“As a parent, you want to protect your kids, you don’t want to put them in harm’s way. That makes me think ‘do you really want to do this any more?’.”

Deeney talked about his plight at an education session on hate crime in football, run by West Midlands Police.

He added: “It’s a bit disappointing that, in the 21st century, that’s what we’re still talking about. I think it highlights that there is still work to be done.

“There is room for improvement.”

PC Stuart Ward, the UK’s first dedicated football hate crime officer, led the session and said he wanted to empower players by explaining what constitutes a hate crime and how they can report abuse.

Since starting the role in January, he has dealt with 84 reported incidents, the vast majority of which relate to race.

One of those investigations resulted in the recent conviction of a football fan who racially abused the former West Bromwich Albion player Romaine Sawyers.

PC Ward told BBC Sport: “I’m hoping by the work that we’re doing now, identifying offenders, working with the Crown Prosecution Service, taking matters to court, hoping that there will be sentences that reflect the crimes that are being committed.

“That will send a clear message to players and the community that when reports come into the police they’ll be taken seriously.”

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