Bruce urges online action after Newcastle boss reveals Covid threat

Date published: Thursday 11th February 2021 1:10 - Neil Foster

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has revealed that people have wished him dead on social media amid mounting concern over online abuse.

The 60-year-old, who does not use social media, has been told by his children that he has been targeted. His comments come after numerous footballers have reported receiving online racist abuse.

Premier League referee Mike Dean was sent death threats following his involvement in two controversial incidents. An open letter from football’s major governing bodies released on Thursday called on social media platforms to do more.

Bruce later revealed the comments he has had to deal with.

“I don’t go on (social media), but of course people close to me do and they are sensitive towards their father, of course,” he said. “Yep, I’ve had that to deal with.

“We’ve got to police it better and there are some vulnerable people out there. When I see the nature of some of it, it’s totally and utterly vile.

“Some of the stuff I’ve had has been obscene. You feel the hatred and something has to be done. When I see an experienced referee – whatever you might think of Mike Dean, nobody deserves that.

“He gets a decision wrong and it was in the last 30 minutes of the game and nothing really hinged on it, but he feels the need to have to step down this weekend.”

Legislation required to combat abuse?

Social media has been an issue ever since its inception. It gives people anonymity to target individuals from the comfort of their own homes.

The media platforms continue to grow in size and popularity. And Bruce believes that those involved need to find a way of prosecuting people who cross the line.

“For everybody, these big companies have to police it better and find out who these idiots and morons are who send this vile abuse and make them be punished,” he added.

“The abuse I’ve had, death threats and all this sort of stuff – when I see the referee become a target for it because he has made a mistake, people threatening his life, it’s absolutely obscene and totally ridiculous.”

And the 60-year-old went as far as recalling the content of one such threat.

“It’s really horrible stuff, which I couldn’t really get my breath with, really, things like someone saying they hope I die of Covid and all of this,” he continued.

Bruce will need to put the issue to one side when he takes his men to face Chelsea on Monday. He will not have striker Callum Wilson in the ranks after he was ruled out for eight weeks.


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