Northampton Saints is giving its full support to a new campaign to tackle online hate from BT called Draw The Line.
The Draw The Line campaign is the first stage of a multi-million pound campaign to step up and stand against hate speech and abuse on social media.
Northampton Saints and all other Premiership Rugby clubs will unite with other sports for a social media boycott from 15.00 on Friday 30 April to 23.59 on Monday 3 May. This boycott is supported by the Rugby Players’ Association.
The Club’s website, along with those of both Premiership Rugby and the other English clubs, will still operate during this time and you may still receive digital communications from us.
Northampton Saints Chief Executive, Mark Darbon, said: “Hate speech or abusive behaviour on social media is never acceptable, but in recent months it has felt as though this is a problem that is becoming more prevalent across the country.
“While we have found that incidents involving our own supporters have been few and far between, this weekend’s blackout is an important tool to raise awareness of the issue and the implications of online abuse.
“We will not accept messages or comments that directly abuse any of our players, staff, referees or other supporters, and we fully support BT’s Draw The Line campaign.”Mark Darbon, Northampton Saints Chief Executive
“This isn’t the only action we intend to take in this space, but I hope we can count on our supporters to back this weekend’s campaign too.”
This weekend’s boycott is just the beginning of the Draw the Line campaign. It is clear that the boycott action in isolation will, of course, not eradicate the scourge of online discriminatory abuse, but it will demonstrate that alongside BT, all Premiership Rugby clubs are willing to take voluntary and proactive steps in this continued fight.
Wayne Morris, the chair of Premiership Rugby’s Diversity and Inclusion Group said: “We are trying to make a better and fairer society for everyone so we are delighted to join BT with this innovative campaign designed to tackle social media abuse and online hate.
“We want to make this a proactive campaign, so following this weekend’s social media boycott, we are committing to responding, deleting, blocking or reporting hate and abuse to ensure our own social channels are safer spaces for their communities.”
Everyone with an account can make small changes to make the online space safe for all. It’s time to draw the line.