NFL players have rallied behind social media as a way to fight back against a growing epidemic of violence online.
The NFL Players Association has joined a group of players on Sunday to protest online harassment and abuse, and the players said they are concerned that social media platforms are failing to take action against the issue.
“We are encouraged by the NFLPA’s leadership to continue to stand with our players in supporting the #WeStandWithOurPlayers movement and call on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to take immediate action to address the threats and harassment of players,” NFLPA President Troy Vincent said in a statement.
“The NFLPA will continue to work with our teams and players to ensure that our communities are safe and secure online and will continue working to ensure our players and their families have access to support systems that are accessible to them,” Vincent added.
The statement came hours after President Donald Trump tweeted a series of threats against NFL players that are being investigated by the FBI.
“If you stand for our national anthem, you will be suspended.
If you protest or stand for the flag, you’ll be fired,” Trump said in an early-morning tweet.
Trump also made an impromptu trip to the White House to sign a memorandum to the president of the NFL that is intended to prohibit the players from taking a knee during the anthem.
The players say the NFL has been slow to take the issue seriously.
The protest is the latest in a string of protests in the NFL over the past several weeks that have seen players, coaches and owners join together to demand greater action on social media and to protest racial and economic inequality.
The league is trying to tamp down a growing backlash over social media in which players have been accused of using racial slurs and other forms of abuse.
The players have also complained about a lack of transparency in the league’s response to reports of players being harassed online.
Follow AP coverage of the protest at http://nbcnewyork.com/2017/09/19/nfl-players-reject-social-media-violence/