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Footballer death threats spark daily’s anti-abuse campaign

A regional daily has launched a campaign against online abuse after “vile” death threats were sent to a footballer.

The Yorkshire Evening Post has issued a front page rallying cry against trolling after social media threats were directed at Leeds United player Patrick Bamford.

The abuse surfaced after Bamford missed a penalty that could have secured a crucial victory against Newcastle United on Saturday as Leeds fight against relegation from the Premier League.

The YEP splashed on its campaign’s launch on Tuesday.

YEP abuse

In an accompanying piece, YEP chief football writer Graham Smyth wrote: “The scale of the abuse Bamford has taken since the game is such that his fiancée felt compelled to finally speak out on her own Twitter account, drawing attention to some of the beyond-the-pale comments.

“Unsurprisingly, most of those she fronted up then deleted their Tweets or scarpered from the platform. The bravery Bamford showed in taking the penalty was in short supply, online.

“Leeds are investigating the situation and looking to identify those sending malicious messages and threats. The YEP understands they would look to ban from Elland Road any season ticket holder found to have been behind that kind of abuse.”

“Some will and have advised the striker and his family to just turn a blind eye. You might question why any Leeds player would go on social media at a time like this and Bamford had actually deactivated his Twitter account last week, on the same day that someone published a compilation of his missed chances on the platform.

“But why shouldn’t his family safely go about their business on their smartphones? Why should they suffer this in silence?

“They’ve evidently now decided that enough is enough.”

YEP editor Joseph Keith told HTFP: “Our recent coverage, front page and the voices of our writers reflect the feeling of Leeds United and the vast majority of fans: the venomous abuse directed towards Patrick has been deplorable.

“The YEP has a history of campaigning against abuse on social media platforms.

“Most recently, our Call It Out campaign was launched during the first Covid-19 lockdown to shine a spotlight on the shocking comments directed towards journalists and those doing their jobs.”