England rugby player Ellis Genge says he received death threats after not clapping his Welsh opponents following his side’s defeat in the Six Nations.
In rugby, it’s tradition for teams to applaud each other after a match as they walk off the pitch.
“Don’t know why I’m not clapping in that tunnel must be deep in thought, utmost respect for the Welsh,” Genge wrote on Twitter.
“As for keyboard warriors sending death threats etc…” added Genge, referring to the abuse he’d been sent over social media after footage was circulated of the incident.
On Sunday, England Rugby released a statement saying that respect is a “core value” of the sport and that Wales “deserved their victory.”
It continued: “Unfortunately, some of the reaction on social media to players and the team has not shown the level of respect the rugby community prides itself on.
“We will support our players and team against online abuse and hope true rugby fans will stand with us.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
This comes after BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan also revealed that she had received abuse on Twitter following her post-match interviews.
McLaughlan asked England captain Owen Farrell and coach Eddie Jones a number of times about controversial refereeing decisions during his side’s 40-24 defeat.
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“Toxic, embarrassing, disgraceful, appalling. Just some of the feedback I’ve had,” McLaughlan wrote on Twitter.
“Thanks for using @ sign so it’s all hit home. Now imagine getting inundated with abuse for doing your job. In my car crying. Hope you’re happy.”
In response to the tweet, England Rugby said that “abuse for doing your job is not OK and we stand with you. We will see you for the next one. Hold your head high and know you have our support.”
The Six Nations also said that “abuse of public figures or members of the media on social media or anywhere else is not acceptable,” while the BBC “strongly condemn(ed)” the abuse sent to McLaughlan and said she “absolutely has our full support.”
On Monday, the Welsh Rugby Union said it was “hugely disappointed and saddened by the social media abuse directed at opposition players and members of the media” and that such abuse “has to stop.”
Before Saturday’s game, which saw Wales secure the Triple Crown after victories against Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations, England coach Eddie Jones had told CNN that social media is “never going to change” and that his coaching staff leave it to individual players to decide how they deal with abusive messages.
Last month, Instagram announced tougher measures to combat online abuse on its platform, including further controls to reduce the abuse people see in their direct messages (DMs).
The platform also told CNN that between July and September 2020, it took action on 6.5 million pieces of hate speech, including in DMs, 95 percent of which was found before anyone had reported it.
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